Remembering: Visiting the Friedhof and Trude

/ 27 April 2011

Before reading this post I recommend reading Eric’s Remembering posts. I’ll mirror his year-later reflections for today and tomorrow, the day before Oma died and the day Oma died.

The previous Sunday (must have been April 25th) Trude had invited us to visit her apartment. Earlier this week we had searched it out so this late-afternoon we could go straight there. She didn’t answer when we rang the doorbell, but Eric figured we’d woken her up. So we decided to go visit Utzi and Opa in the friedhof and try again later.

When we entered Friedhof Grinzing we decided to purchase a flower to plant on the grave. As I recall there were red, white, and yellow flowers, but I don’t remember which one we purchased. We then wove our way deep into the friedhof to the grave. We used the black plastic marker that I think lets the gardeners know which graves have been gardened this spring to dig a place for the flower just in front of the other plants and centered on the grass of the grave. After planting it we went and found a watering can to water the flower.

When the flower was nicely watered we spent some time simply praying to Utzi that she could help her mother on whatever journey she was on. Then we slowly walked back out of the friedhof, as we walked out of the gate Eric took pictures of the map that highlight the location of the grave.

When we got back to Trude’s apartment building and rang the doorbell she was awake and let us in. I remember how impressed we both were that the elevator in her apartment building was a direct link between the front door of the building and the front door of her apartment. She was standing in her doorway waiting for us, and was surprised that we’d ridden the elevator instead of walked up the stairs. Once we got inside we took off our hats and Trude asked if we wanted to sit inside, or out on her porch, we chose out on her porch since it was a fairly pretty evening.

Once Trude brought us drinks she asked how Oma was doing and we told her that she was not doing well at all. We talked about many different things, real estate, family, the neat planters on her porch’s railing, etc. I mostly just listened while sipping my coke and eating some of the small store-bought cookies she had set out on a plate. Before we left Trude promised that she’d call the parish and have them send a priest for last rites either later today or tomorrow.

After we got back home Oma was in bad enough of a condition that we had to call the hospice doctor. Eric and I decided that spaghetti was a good, simple, meal for the evening meal and so started to prepare it. We hadn’t gotten far in the preparations when Trude called saying that a priest would be visiting us within an hour or so. This happened to be the same exact time as when the hospice doctor would be showing up.

The hospice doctor showed up first, and basically said that Oma wasn’t doing well and that we should do our best to keep her blood flowing normally. Then the doorbell rang, it was the priest. I think Dagmar may have already been on Skype, but she definitely was by the time the hospice doctor left and the priest began last rites.

During this time I stayed pretty much in the living room thinking that somehow giving Oma last rites this evening was premature, she’d have a few days left, at least. Also during this time Anna had previously transferred the spaghetti sauce because it was burning, and I failed to recognize Eric’s signals to me to turn off the sauce and check the meatballs. As a result by the time the priest left our dinner was a bit burned.

Eric and I decided to eat out in the front yard (at the table) because Eric felt that he wouldn’t be able to concentrate on eating inside due to how loud Oma’s screaming was. It was totally dark, save for the street lights, but we managed to still eat, this wasn’t the first night we ate the evening meal outside. Eric finished eating and went into the dinning room to be with Oma. When I finished eating as best I can remember I went upstairs to bed.