3 July 2015, Friday – Uproar

It´s extremely hot. We visit Jens in the cemetery. The flower arrangements on his grave are suffering from the heat and sweat is oozing from our pores. We pull out the dried flowers and water the rest. Next time we´ll have to remove the arrangements, wreaths and bouquets as the weather forecast for the next few days is 37 degrees and dry.
We stand at his grave for a long time. It hurts to know that our once happy son is inside.
We contact the stonemason and choose a gravestone. Our feelings protest. Why are we caught in a loop of negative thoughts from which there is no escape? It´s ok to give him Jens´s date of birth. But the date of his death? We´ve never had to do that before.
We receive the news from Germanwings that on 24 July the unidentified human remains will be laid to rest in one mass grave in Le Vernet.
The French prosecutor indicated this at the informational meeting in Paris on 11 June.
The non-denominational memorial service will be conducted by the prefecture of the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department.
A minute of silence is planned, followed by the laying of a wreath and an interfaith service.
There will be a second funeral, meaning there will be a second grave. My head is blocked and I try not to think about it. Instead, I wonder why all of the remains could not be identified. Even the smallest organism fragments have DNA and biomolecules from ancient fossils can be deciphered. I can´t figure it out.
The Lufthansa / Germanwings compensation offer deeply upsets the crash victims´ families and spurs the media to action. Extensive articles are written on the question of how high the amount should be and how it is regulated in other countries. Lawyers representing the families unanimously proclaim that the offer is “outrageous, entirely inadequate, too low,“ etc. The German victims would receive far less in compensation than the others.
The telephone rings. A mother who lost her son in the crash wants to talk about the offer. She is furious. “We have to do something, otherwise Lufthansa is going to hide behind a murderer and fob us off.“
We only buried Jens a week ago. Before that Germanwings´ Care Center treated us very badly for fourteen days concerning the return of his casket. Their inconsistencies have caused us to despair and we still haven´t fully recovered from that time. That´s why we are ready to talk to the media. The lawyers and family members have received interview requests.
Yesterday we were interviewed by a journalist from the news magazine Der Spiegel. He and a photographer came by early in the morning as we agreed. It was quite last minute because the issue will be published tomorrow.
They offered their condolences and said how sorry they were about the terrible event in the French Alps.
Before the interview they pointed out that we didn´t have to answer all their questions. It did us good to talk, although it was hard to control our feelings and overwhelming memories. We answered willingly as we wanted to get rid of our pent up frustration.
The photographer pulled out his camera. We stood side by side, sat on the couch, went out on the balcony, etc.
After a good two hours they left and we were exhausted.
In the late afternoon we received an email from the journalist. He thanked us for the friendly welcome and explained that only a small part of our conversation would be used for the issue. Later he would write about our experience in more detail. He attached the complete passage and asked for our feedback.
The text is good, but unfortunately the unpleasantness surrounding the return of Jens´s remains is not mentioned.

© Brigitte Voß / Translation: Ellen Rosenbaum

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