This is not the post I wanted to write today or indeed ever. But on October 1, my Dad died. It was very unexpected, because in spite of some health issues in the past, he had always been very healthy and active. In spite of his age, he still worked part time as an engineer until about a month before the end. And initially, it seemed as if the health problem that put him in hospital was easily treatable. His condition deteriorated very rapidly, within the space of only a week.
What makes this even worse is that I was the one who found him when I went to visit him at the hospital. A physical therapist who treated him tested positive for covid, so they isolated all the patients who had contact with her, including my Dad. So he had a room of his own. I went in and said hello, but he didn’t react. I thought he was a asleep, so I touched and found that he was cold and a somewhat stiff, whereupon I ran screaming from the hospital room, much to the displeasure of the nurses.
The hospital (this one, which is hated by pretty much everybody for its confusing layout, unsuitable location and difficulties to access by car, yet the Bremen senate keeps pouring money into it instead of doing the smart thing and gradually relocating the specialty clinics to other, more modern and easily accessible hospitals) was seriously understaffed and on Sunday afternoon, there were only two nurses and one doctor on duty for a ward of at least twenty to twenty-five patients. A nurse claimed that she had been in my Dad’s room forty-five minutes before I found him and that he was still alive then. I definitely know that a neighbour visited him two hours earlier and said he’d been asleep but alive then.
This is all very difficult for me, not just because it happened so unexpected and so fast – and indeed, everybody I called was stunned at the news – but also because I have to deal with everything – funeral preparations, informing relatives and friends, dealing with legal and administrative issues – largely on my own, because I have no siblings and my Mom isn’t well enough to handle those things. A lot of neighbours, co-workers, friends, etc… offered me their help, but there are a lot of things only an immediate relative can do. The fact that Dad never really said how or where he wanted to be buried, what sort of music he wanted, etc… doesn’t help either. I have a decent idea of some things – that he wouldn’t want to spend too much money on a funeral and that he would prefer donations to his favourite charity to flowers – but for others, I have to guess or go with what works best for my Mom and me.
I posted about this on Twitter and BlueSky a few hours after it happened and the outpouring of condolences (in four different world religions), messages of sympathy, GIFs, personal stories, etc… as well e-mails and personal message and even the sympathy cards piling up on the kitchen counter was overwhelming and very comforting. Honestly, if you ever find yourself wondering whether “My sympathies for your loss” or something similar helps, believe me, it does.
There are not a lot of photos of my Dad, because neither I nor anybody else could get ever get him to look into the camera, but here are a few:
Regular blogging will resume eventually. The review of the Foundation season 2 finale is definitely coming and was about three quarters finished, when life got in the way. I also have two con reports planned as well as more Masters of the Universe toy photo stories, because they give me joy. Not sure if I’ll do episode by episode reviews of season 2 of Loki.