The Virus and our Daughter Gaby

Peter and I had a daughter who caught the poliomyelitis virus in 1961, that is she became sick on her 4th birthday. She was soon totally paralysed, was given artificial respiration and was unconscious for many months. The doctors did not expect her to stay alive. So, when she woke up with her brain still functioning intact, it was like a miracle!

She had no memory of her previous life. However, when we were visiting her, she was soon able to communicate in German again. Also being in hospital, she learned English quickly. It turned out, she was able as a paraplegic with breathing difficulties to lead a productive life. She died just a few months before she would have turned 55. Initially, she stayed in the hospital’s respiratory ward and slept in an iron lung. She was tutored at the nearby hospital school and made many friends.

When she was ten and a half she was sent to our place, and we took care of her until she was 17. Despite some respite care, that was given to her at the hospital from time to time, we just could not cope with her care anymore by the time she was 17.

So, from age 17 till age 30 she had to cope with institutionalised care. Then she made friends with a man who was willing to be her carer. They lived in a three bedroom low rent housing commission home. Apart from David, her carer, quite a few extra people became her carers for her personal needs. Her fulltime carer, who lived in the house with her, eventually became utterly sick and could not be her carer anymore. But Gaby, our daughter, did not want to make him leave for he had nowhere else to go, and she felt, she needed to look after him. But he stayed alive and died one year after Gaby had died.

Towards the end of her life, Gaby became pretty desperate for she had no permanent carer anymore who would stay with her in the house to be there with her in an emergency. She could not depend on David that he would be of any help in an emergency. So, she was very afraid that she might end up in a hospital or some kind of institution.

We felt for her. When she died we thought that it probably had been lucky for her, that she had died in her own home surrounded by some lovely carers for she had liked to be as independent as possible. With 15 hours help per day she could manage her life adequately. She needed help three times daily! For lifting her in and out of her wheelchair and onto a commode or the bed there always had to be two people available. And someone had to do her cooking, cleaning and washing as well as reloading the battery for her electric wheelchair that enabled her to go around Sydney by using public transport such as trains and busses! But sometimes she also went out in taxis. Peter and I usually met her once a fortnight in a shopping centre to help her with her shopping of groceries.

And Gaby always enjoyed to meet our extended family on special occasions such as birthdays or Christmas or Easter. Some family members would also visit her from time to time at her home. Gaby also enjoyed very much to select little gifts for everyone. I have still a few gifts of her that remind me of her! Also, sometimes the family would meet Gaby in a beautiful park or a restaurant.

Gaby was a very good speaker despite her breathing difficulties. And she was very sociable. We were always amazed that Gaby had such a fantastic memory for names and faces of people. It is also memorable, that she collected quite a bit of money for a charity. Without doubt, she was able to make many, many friends. Even some Labor politicians and other people well known in public life were her good friends!

So, Gaby had died in 2012. Every day I am reminded of her how wonderfully she managed her life. During the day she was nearly always up and about. But during the last years of her life she had to spend most evenings on her own, that is until her carers would arrive to get her ready for bed. She often may have felt very lonely at this time of the day, for she liked to be with people. But she had her pets: A companion dog and a cat! Also, she was used to spend a lot of time at the computer when she was by herself in the evening.

More and more I contemplate, how much my life seems to resemble Gaby’s life now. Only, of course, Gaby’s life was much more difficult compared to mine. Strangely enough, there seem to be some similarities. Maybe, I should tell myself over and over again, that so far I am not so bad off really. Gaby’s carer, David, used to say to me: “Mama, you should not worry so much!” Dear David, he was at heart a very good bloke, but he had his weaknesses, like smoking and a lot of beer drinking and not looking after his health, not at all.

Here you can read something about David:

Visit to Benalla in August 2019

At the beginning of the month we travelled again to Benalla to visit our son. This time we took the train to Benalla. We arrived in Benalla on Sunday, the 4th of August. Our return journey was on Thursday, the 8th of August. We had a great time in Benalla. Twice Martin went with me to the Benalla Swimming Centre. Peter did not want to come with us even though we assured him that the water was well heated.

Every day Martin drove us to a different place. So we saw at Glenrowan a multi-million Dollar anamatronic show. It was Ned Kelly’s LAST STAND at the Glenrowan Tourist Centre. I took the following pictures:

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I copied below what I cold find about the show. Maybe you’d like to have a look at this:

https://www.glenrowantouristcentre.com.au/the-show/

The Show

“This mulitimillion dollar anamatronic show  IS NOT A PICTURE THEATRE it is an interactive theatre production

Through the brilliance of animation and computerised robots, you will be transferred back in time, over 100 years, to witness the events that led up to the capture of the Kelly Gang.

Starting as hostages in the Hotel, and then onto gunfights – burning buildings – a decent hanging, and finishing in our magnificent painting gallery.

The show is educational, historically correct and entertaining.

The show runs for 40 minutes every half hour (separate rooms) from   10:00am   to 4.30pm daily.

The Glenrowan Tourist Centre is fully air conditioned. The theatre can seat up to 50 people at any one time.”

https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Attraction_Review-g552175-d2569926-Reviews-The_Ned_Kelly_Story-Glenrowan_Victoria.html

https://www.nma.gov.au/defining-moments/resources/ned-kelly

1880: Ned Kelly’s last stand at Glenrowan, Victoria

“On 28 June 1880, Victorian Police captured bushranger Ned Kelly after a siege at the Glenrowan Inn. The other members of the Kelly Gang — Dan Kelly, Joseph Byrne and Steve Hart — were killed in the siege.The gang had been outlawed for the murders of three police officers at Stringybark Creek in 1878.

Ned Kelly was tried and executed in Melbourne in November 1880.

The Kelly Gang’s last stand has become an Australian folk legend, however views are divided about how it should be remembered. . . .”

After the show in Glenrowan Martin drove with us to Wangaretta where we had an excellent lunch in the Preview Cafe.

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We also had coffee and some desert!

The next pictures are from the following day:

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We did stop at the Tolmie Tavern, and true enough: Nothing did happen! And we had thought, we’d get some lunch there! Everything looked closed and deserted.

We ended up having lunch a bit further on. I think it may have taken us close to two hours before we actually did have some lunch and decent toilets! Before we arrived at that beautiful old Tatong Tavern we had a good look at the Stringybark Creek Historic Reserve:

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So, at the Tatong Tavern we ended up having a splendid lunch. I asked for vegetarian and did get this beautiful meal:

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We also had coffee and some desert!

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This was probably on Tuesday when we were here at the Tolmie Tavern, and true enough: Nothing did happen! And we had thought, we’d get some lunch there! Everything looked closed and deserted.

We ended up having lunch a bit further on. I think it may have taken us close to two hours before we actually did have some lunch and decent toilets! Before we arrived at that beautiful old Tatong Tavern we had a good look at the Stringybark Creek Historic Reserve:

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So, at the Tatong Tavern we ended up having a splendid lunch. I asked for vegetarian and did get this beautiful meal:

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Benalla

Benalla is the place where our son Martin moved to in 2017. In 2018 we took some pictures of Martin’s outside area. We loved to sit outside there, especially we loved to watch the fish in the fishpond.

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Now in March 2021 Martin still has this lovely fishpond and more and more fish in it. It is so relaxing to sit outside and watch the fish!

My Parents visiting Lodz on a joined Passport together with Baby Uta!

Haus von Josef und Hulda Spickermann during the 40ties
Above the house of Josef and Hulda Spickermann in Lodz during the years before the end of World War Two.

My Paternal Grandparents lived in Lodz, They were Josef Alexander and Hulda Spickermann and celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary in November 1943. All their children with all their spouses and most of the grandchildren were present. Josef and Hulda had three daughters and three sons: Olga, Jenny, Elisabeth (Lies) and Edmund (E), Alexander (Oleg) and Ludwig (Luttek). I have a picture of the Golden Wedding with everyone in it. Here it is:

Golden Wedding (2)

My father was the second son of Josef and Hulda. He married my mother, Irma Charlotte Summerer, on the 30th of September 1930. My mother was only nineteen at the time. Four years later, on the 21st of September 1934, I was born. In June of 1935 my parents travelled with me to Lodz (Poland) to visit Dad’s family there. My mother and I, we did not have our own passports. We were included in Dad’s passport as can be seen in the following picture.

Passport 1935

1927 in Lodz: This is a picture of Dad’s sisters Olga, Jenny and Elisabeth:

This is a picture of Dad's sisters from 1927 in Lodz.
Juni 1935 in Haeuslers Pk Lodz

In the above picture I am in the pram with my cousin Horst. There are also cousins George and Gerd, the sons of Tante Olga as well as cousin Ursula, the daughter of Tante Jenny. (Olga and Jenny were of course the older sisters of my father.) The picture is taken in the park of the Häuslers, Horst’s parents.

As far as I know we stayed in Lodz with Tante Lies (Elisabeth) and Onkel Alfred. I have several pictures that show me with their son Horst who was born on the 7th of February 1935. Tante Lies was about the same age as my mother. Whereas Onkel Alred was twenty years older than his wife. He owned huge properties. We always thought they were rich.

When I was six weeks old the grandparents, Hulda and Josef, came to Berlin for a visit, where they saw me for the first time. They were proud to have a grandchild by one of their sons. (Their other two sons did not have any children yet at the time). I think my twenty-three year old mother looks very pretty in that picture.

Ute ist 6 Wochen alt
9.Juni 1938 Bodo ist nur ein paar Stunden alt

On the 9th of June 1938 my brother Bodo Alexander was born. He was born at home in our apartment in Berlin, Bozener Strasse. Here in this picture he is only a few hours old. I was thrilled to have a baby brother! I believed the ‘Klapperstorch’ had brought him. Mum’s sister Ilse was very excited about this addition to the family as well. Later on I always heard stories about how this home delivery took place. And I did sleep through all of it. When I woke up in the morning, Tante Ilse led me to the cot in the parent’s bedroom. And surprise, surprise, der Klapperstorch had brought a beautiful baby boy. There he was lying in the cot!

Ute mit Opa Spickerman am Reichssportfeld Juni 1938

Here I am with Opa Spickermann at the ‘Reichssportfeld’ in June 1938 soon after the birth of brother Bodo. It  was a time when Mum still had to stay in bed. Tante Ilse and her husband Adolf Schlinke owned a ‘Wanderer’ car. In that they drove Dad, Opa and me to the Reichssportfeld for an outing. Probably so Opa could see a bit of Berlin. Presumably he had come all the way from Lodz to Berlin to see his first born grandson by the name of Spickermann.

Dad, Granddad, Tante Ilse and little Uta, (I guess, Onkel Addi took the picture.)

Dad, Granddad, Tante Ilse and little Uta,
(I guess, Onkel Addi took the picture.)

May 1935 in Berlin Baby Uta with her Dad
May 1935 in Berlin
Baby Uta with her Dad

The following is a reflection on my parents. Their marriage their frequent separations, their divorce, how they related to us children, their interests, their friends or partners, Dad’s second marriage.

When I was about fifteen, Mum introduced ‘Bambi’ into our lives. ‘Bambi’ was Herr Burghoff aka Tomscick. Of course only Mum called him ‘Bambi’. To us children he was ‘Herr Burghoff’. We did not have any problem with this. Later on I found out that Dad had a problem with calling him by his adopted new name. Dad insisted on calling him ‘Tomscick’.

Here is a conversation I had with Dad when I was about eighteen:

It was June 1953. I was on a one week leave from FLEUROP and had used this, my very first vacation, to visit Dad in Düsseldorf.

‘The boys told me that Tomscik never shared his supper with you children,’ said Dad.

‘Don’t worry, Dad,’ was my response. ‘We never wanted Herr Burghoff to act as our Dad. I thought it was perfectly all right that he bought “Abendbrot” only for himself and Mum. At the time he was still studying and didn’t have much money. Maybe it would have been different had he already been employed in the Public Service.’

‘And what is this, that he wants to marry Mum?’ asked Dad.

‘Well, it’s true, he wanted to marry her. You know, that as a Catholic he was not allowed to marry a divorced woman. That’s why they asked the Pope for special permission. It took a while, but they did get it in the end.’

‘Yea, by declaring the marriage invalid and my children bastards,’ screamed Dad.

‘I know, they established that she married under pressure of her mother and sister Ilse. They claim, she didn’t really know what she was getting into when she married you.’

Dad looked extremely upset. ‘That’s absolute nonsense!’ he shouted.

I felt very sorry for Dad. ‘Anyway, Dad, it seems Mum’s not going to marry him after all. Tante Ilse says so.’

‘And why would that be? What could possibly be a reason for not marrying him now?’

‘The reason? According to Tante Ilse there are several reasons. You know,  Herr Burghoff is now employed here in a town in the Rheinland. That is Mum would have to move away from Berlin, if she wanted to live with him. And you know what Mum’s like: She just does not want to leave Berlin!’

Dad nodded. He knew all about this: Mum had always refused to leave Berlin to live with him.

‘ And Tante Ilse told me something else. She said when Mum went to his new place for a visit, she noticed him praying a lot. At least twice a day he would fall on his knees praying in front of a statue. It was kind of acceptable for Mum to go with him to Sunday Mass in Berlin. But apparently she can’t stand all this praying at home. Tante Ilse thinks it was just too much for her to see him do this. Indeed, it must have been the straw that broke the camel’s back!’

Mum actually never re-married. An acquaintance of Mum’s helped her to acquire a permanent job in the Berlin Rathaus (Council Building). She worked there till she turned 65. She could have stopped working earlier, however she knew her pension would increase if she worked to age 65. She lived for her twice yearly vacations. She always saved up for these vacations to go on wonderful holiday trips. On one of these trips she met a widower who was keen on marrying her.  Years later she once told me, she chose not to marry him. He was elderly and she was too scared he might eventually need nursing care. The thought of having to nurse someone in old age just didn’t appeal to her. She thought she deserved to have the opportunity to still have a bit of fun in life. On each holiday she took lots of photos and meticulously preserved them in photo albums. She also wrote a few comments for every trip. There are some records in her recollections about two very elegant men who invited her for dinner. These men turned out to be homosexuals who greatly enjoyed the company of a well groomed presentable lady. And apparently she enjoyed being invited and appreciated. She told me she was glad that none of them  expected any sexual favours from her.

Dad was actually thinking of re-marrying Mum once he was back in secure employment. As far as I know he did ask her and she refused. Apparently she had no desire at all to get back together with him. I remember Dad did ask me at the time whether I thought it would be better for us children if he re-married our mother. Well, I must admit, I did not think so at the time. I just could not imagine the two of them being civil to each other after all the hostilities that had been going on between them for many years.  I think I was eighteen when this question came up. When I was younger I would so much have loved to be living with two parents under the one roof. At eighteen I had overcome these feelings of deprivation of not having two parents around all the time. Should I have thought more about my two younger brothers? Maybe Mum would have mellowed and been able to put up with Dad for the sake of the boys who definitely would have needed a father  – – – –

Mum with her three children: Uta, Bodo and Peter-Uwe.  1948 in Berlin
Mum with her three children: Uta, Bodo and Peter-Uwe.
1948 in Berlin

I don’t know whether Mum would have paid any attention to what I could have been saying. I always had the feeling I could not talk to Mum about these feelings. It was very different with Dad. He always wanted to hear my opinion on everything.

Anyhow as it turned out I left old Germany a few years later with my husband and two young children. Dad was quite devastated to see us leaving. He had become so attached to his first born granddaughter Gaby. She gave him such great joy!  We were soon well and truly settled in Australia. We felt Australia was for our young family much better than Germany. We never regretted having left Germany behind.

Dad’s secretary, Frau Kusche, was a war-widow. She came from Lodz in Poland the same as my Dad. She had raised a son and a daughter as a war-widow. I had seen Frau Kusche only once briefly at the office. I later heard her 28 year old son who was married and also had a little son, this 28 year old was suffering from terminal cancer. Before he died he was witness at the marriage of his sister who had been an air-hostess and was marrying an American. My father, who had married Frau Kusche in the meantime, was also present at the wedding, together with his new wife of course.

Frau Kusche’s first name starts with G. Dad had a few good years with her towards the end of his life. He too, sadly died of cancer when he was only 62. He and G made a few visits to America to see G’s daughter there. They had also planned to come and visit us in Australia. Sadly, this never eventuated. G. was looking after Dad when he was terminally ill. It took a lot  out of her. But she recovered eventually. She’s still alive and well now, being in her nineties, her daughter-in-law keeping an eye on her.

Uta’s Diary, January 2021

How does Covid19 affect us?

Well, it is the beginning of 2021. We migrated from Germany to Australia in 1959. So we have been in Australia well over 60 years. We had two children under two when we migrated. And then we had another two children born in Australia. Australia definitely is our new home country wheras Germany is our ‘old’ home country!

When my father died of cancer in Germany in 1966, no way could I have contemplated rushing over to Germany to his bedsite. Airtravel to Germany would have been much too expensive for me. The first time we could afford to travel by air to Germany for a visit was in1977. After that Airtravel became more and more affordable. We were able to travel lots of times to Germany for visits. We even travelled to other European countries to England and to America.

Now, with the virus none essential airtravel is becoming outright unaffordable for the average citizen. Even travel between the different states in Australia is becoming more and more difficult. With all the travel restrictions in place because of the virus, our son, who lives in Victoria, nearly did not make it to New South Wales to be with his dying father!

For the past forty years or so we had become used that travel overseas as well as within Australia had become possible any time. Now, since this virus has to be watched, all of a sudden all this travelling has been put on hold. How do we cope with it? I must say, so far we do not seem to cope with it all that well. All these restrictions because of the virus go on people’s nerves. Wearing a mask to avoid infection? What a bother! No, to have to wear a mask when you are among people, really is not very pleasant. Germans would say: ‘Mach eine gute Miene zum bösen Spiel!’ That means you can pretend to be cheerful even if this thing is not to your liking!

And what about ‘Social Distancing’? How difficult is that for people? In lots of places, some signs on the floor indicate how far to keep away from the person in front of you. When it comes to sitting down, you usually are expected to leave the chair on both sides of you empty, and some signs indicate where people cannot sit. The exception is of course, when people are from the same family and live together, meaning people that do live together do not have to sit separate. But often extended families have the urge to sit close together too!

When they have that urge to congregate in clusters in order to be able to talk to each other, what does that indicate? Can we not talk to each other when there is a bit of room left between us? Apparently the urge is to be as close as possible to the person we want to talk to. This is the normal way to have a converstion, is it not? Well, not anynore! The virus teaches us something different. And we better learn quickly to cope with all these changes for the virus is going to be with us for quite a bit longer. Even all the vaccinations will not wipe out the danger of infection 100%!

Uta’s Diary

It is Caroline’s Birthday: Dec. 9, 2020

The above pictures I took a bit over a month ago! Today I took some pictures outside because it was such great sunny weather. A lot in the backyard looked beautiful to me. It was a really good Sunday again. I spent many hours outside including an early morning walk and starting to read a book I had been wanting to read ages ago and never actually started reading it. Today I managed to read already 100 pages in three sessions. All the reading I did sitting outside in different places. It is so good to spend time outside. What could be better?

With the downloading of the new pictures I don’t feel quite up to it yet. I wanted to show Martin how much everything has been growing since he planted it. It really is very luscious growth this year after all that rain. But yes, it was very pleasant to have today a day without any rain and also hardly any wind!

Instead of today’s pictures I inserted now a few pictures from last month when Peter was still alive, but deteriorating a lot in that he was not able to eat properly any more, not even cake! We moved the card table close to his bed with Caroline’s sumptuous birthday cakeon it, so that he would feel included in the birthday celebrations. Alas, he managed to eat only a tiny, tiny bit.

These are the trees I always love to visit!
Over th last few weeks and months we often had a lot of clouds!

Friday, 8th January 2021: A Bit about how I feel today

Peter died on Saturday, the 12th of December 2020. The funeral was on Saturday, the 19th of December.

In my blog from 27th of December it says what I did on Sunday, the 13th and Sunday, the 20th of December. And that on Sunday, the 27th, I was happy, that I could stay at home after having neglected to ring Erica to ask her whether she could give me a lift to church. Now, nearly two weeks later, I feel, I am still not ready for regular attendance at Mass. Believe it or not, I am still happy to just stay at home!

On Fridays is games afternoon at one of my friends’ places. I know, this afternoon these  games are going to be played at Irene’s place that is a few doors away from where I live. The games last for about three hours with a tea/coffee break in between. Last Friday the games were at Barbara’s place, that is also very close to my place. Because the games are being played indoors, I felt I needed to wear a mask. Barbara knew, that I wanted to come to her place on that afternoon. But I had rushed too much again and was a bit late. The others were waiting for me already: Erica, Irene, and Barbara. They pointed out to me, that they thought, it was not necessary to wear a mask. But I decided to keep my mask on, which was rather difficult for I felt too hot after having rushed so much to get ready on time!

Anyhow, I told myself, if I would go the following week to Irene’s place, I would make sure,  that I would be ready and relaxed well before two o’clock. So, games at Irene’s place, that is today. Will I be able to make it? Honestly, I do not know yet. I feel, I do need plenty of rest today after having had an exhausting day yesterday. Will I be able to leave everything as is in the house and in the overgrown ‘garden’? Yes, maybe. But at least I have to cook myself a proper meal. Do I need to clean up the kitchen after this? Maybe not. Maybe I can just leave it as it is and concentrate on getting ready. It would be so much easier if I hadn’t have to go out at all. But I love to play the games with my friends!

I slept in this morning. I am still not dressed. I had a bit of a sniffle. Am I coming down with something? Or do I just need a bit of a rest after having done hours of weeding in the backyard yesterday and then having been out for hours with Monika and little Eve —-

There are still so many things to sort out in the house. For sure, I can take it one day at a time. Tomorrow, Saturday, Caroline and Monika are going to be here to clean out a few things. Most things they can sort out without me. So what am I worried about? I thought it would be nice, if I could attempt at least to look after the few things that I want to keep for myself. Anyhow, I hope, tomorrow I am to have a little bit more energy again.

This a copy of my Post from Sunday, the 27th of December 2020:

One day after Peter died was a Sunday. I asked Martin, could he drive me to church. And of course he volunteered to do this. I made it to the early Mass at 7,30 am. I did light a candle for Peter after Mass. Then, Erica came to talk to me. She knew that Peter had died and said, she was sorry. She remarked, she was happy that I came back to church. And she asked me, did I have a lift home? I answered, Martin, my son would pick me up again. It so happened, that Caroline and Matthew had gone out to the shopping centre to get fresh breadrolls and eggs for breakfast. They picked me up from church at exactly the right time on their way back home.

The following week on Sunday Martin drove me once more to the 7,30 am Mass. So, I could light another candle for Peter. On that Sunday I did not see Erica. It was the Suday when Martin went with his dog Millie back to his place in Benalla, Victoria. He left soon after breakfast and arrived home soon after 4pm. The border was closed the following day. Martin was lucky, that he had made it home without having to go into quarantine!

Now, today, is the third Sunday after Peter died. I was supposed to ring Erica and ask her, could she give me a lift to church! But somehow I did not feel like ringing. And I am glad I didn’t! I had such a lovely morning here at home, enjoying beautiful sunshine and doing a bit of gardening. Thinking of lighting a candle for Peter, I am going to do this right now, here at home!

Daughter Caroline and son-in-law Matthew went back to. their place in Marrickville. But they did stay with me for quite a while. I wanted to visit Martin in Benalla. But this is not possible for as long as the border is closed. Daughter Monika lives not far away and can help me out when needed. But for the next week or so she is on a holiday at the NSW Southcoast with her children and grandchildren. In the New Year Caroline and Matthew are going to help me with the settling of a few things. And so it goes . . . . .

AuntyUta

One day after Peter died was a Sunday. I asked Martin, could he drive me to church. And of course he volunteered to do this. I made it to the early Mass at 7,30 am. I did light a candle for Peter after Mass. Then, Erica came to talk to me. She knew that Peter had died and said, she was sorry. She remarked, she was happy that I came back to church. And she asked me, did I have a lift home? I answered, Martin, my son would pick me up again. It so happened, that Caroline and Matthew had gone out to the shopping centre to get fresh breadrolls and eggs for breakfast. They picked me up from church at exactly the right time on their way back home.

The following week on Sunday Martin drove me once more to the 7,30 am Mass. So, I could light…

View original post 243 more words

Uta’s Diary

https://auntyuta.com/2016/08/22/big-loss/

https://auntyuta.com/2020/11/08/__trashed/

https://auntyuta.com/2011/11/

https://auntyuta.com/2020/12/27/after-peter-died-the-third-sunday/

Today is the4thSunday after Peter died/On th 8th of November, that is just a few weeks ago, when Peter was still alive and able to visit the local doctor (with Olivia’s help that is), yes on the 8th of November I republished one of the posts from November 2011.

Now, I assume that most of my readers would not like to go to the trouble of looking up all these posts. However, for me it was most interesting to read through all of them again. It helps to give some kind of substance to what I do remember about the past nine years or so. These posts show me, that already nine years ago I could not help myself thinking about what would happen when Peter and I would come into our eighties. Well, Peter made it to 85 without any significant changes in our surroundings. I am 86 already. I must admit I am not at all used to organising some trades people to do any necessary repairs. Peter always did this. He always pointed out to me: “You can do it if you like!” But did he really want me to do it? I don’t think so. Whenever he was supposed to show me something, he soon got impatient and took over, doing whatever needed to be done rather himself. I must admit, I am a rather slow learner and always got scared I would not learn fast enough or forget soon again, how to do certain things. This also went very much so with work on the computer too. Whenever something went wrong on the computer he would take over totally, yes, maybe showing me a few things but without making sure that I had understood it properly. And it was very hard for me to ask for repeat instructions. He would just say: “But I showed you already!” and leave it at that.

In a lot of ways I am now totally dependent on the help of my children. I am extremely lucky to have three capable and loving children. But it is difficult for me to accept that I may have to disrupt their lives too much. I would like to have a certain type of independence where I feel that I am still capable of making my own decisions in every way and where I have not to told by anyone how to live my life!

One of my concerns at the moment is the ever increasing need for an overhaul of my backyard. When I look at that post from 22nd of August 2016 about the loss of three of our big trees, I am astounded how this backyard has changed again over the last four years or so!