My post today is rather later than usual, but it has been an unusual day and, to a certain extent, a very stressful one; not so much for me but certainly for those others involved. Just after nine this morning I received a telephone call from Martin that I needed to give up my last free day and come into work as Frau HÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¶ppe had died during the night.
Frau HÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¶ppe, for those who don’t know, is the women in whose house I stayed when I first arrived here. She and her husband live(d) in the remains of a large farm Martin’s company had bought up and were enjoying their old age without too many cares or concerns.
Part of the duties of a Senior Assistant is to arrange functions and parties; to invite guests; order food and lodgings; cater for all the small things which might occur and ensure that everything runs smoothly. In this case I was asked by Martin to make the initial funeral arrangements: that is, not the actual funeral since a professional funeral director attends to all that, but for the family who would be arriving during this week, with a catering company for a meal after the funeral and with local hotels so that the family, those who didn’t wish to stay at the house for whatever reasons, had somewhere to sleep. Fortunately that is relatively easy here, as there are two good hotels close to the farm and the one I chose was able to sort everything out immediately, with reserved rooms and a large room for the meal.
The funeral will be on Friday morning at eleven.
Perhaps the hardest part of all was contacting their children, who are spread across Germany, and seeing exactly what they wished to do; how many would be coming here, when and how long for. The stress was in listening to their complaints about how awkward the timing of her death was, and how they had so many other things which they needed to do which, I got the impression, took far higher priority. I felt sorry for Herr HÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¶ppe, not only because of the loss of his wife – they married shortly after school, had been school sweethearts and spent their entire lives with one another – but also because of the attitudes of his children. At the same time glad that I was the one doing the organising so that he was spared the insults I had to hear; the lack of interest; the complaints. I didn’t know whether to cry, laugh or shout at the daughter-in-law whose primary concern was who would pay the costs of them travelling to the funeral.
There are some things I will never understand about people: a family takes care of their children; raises them as best they can; takes on all the costs; ensures they have the best schooling and the best possible start in life; supports them through thick and thin but when it comes to a little bit in return, especially when one dies, there is no sign of gratitude or real sorrow at the loss.
On Friday, or probably Thursday afternoon, I will get to meet some of these ungrateful wretches, and only hope that I am able to remain diplomatic throughout the ordeal.
Love & Kisses, Viki.