Michaela Merz

The Irish story

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I was visiting a small Irish town for one day. In the late afternoon I was making to see the sights of the town. It was a small straightforward town and there was not much historical to see. I ended up at a tiny church, surrounded by a small graveyard. It was very simple, with only few stones without any decorations or flowers. Only the inscriptions on the grave stones told little stories.

One of these stories touched me very much. On the stone there were three first names with the same last names, where the day and year of birth were identical to the day of death. All this in the 90s of the last century. I was standing still in front of the stone and could feel the sorrow of the mother. It was a very touching feeling. Probably I had been standing there for a long while because all of a sudden I heard a voice.

An old lady asked me whether I am part of the family. I negated but said that there can be hardly anything worse in life than losing three own children. I did not expect an answer but very quiet she said: “There are worse things in life.”

I looked at her with astonishment. She was small and petite, about 70 years old, a nice elderly lady.

She told me her story and while listening to her story I got goose bumps.

Her four siblings all live in this small town. She does not have any contact to them and it happens regularly that whenever she meets any of her siblings on the street, her slightly younger brothers and sisters change the side of the road. She is unmarried and single. Her doom was that she was sired five months before her parents got married. Immediately after her birth her parents gave her to an orphan’s home in order to wash them of the guilt of premarital sex. Her parents never ever visited her, never showed any interest in how she is doing. She was rejected from her family as if she were the guilty one. The entire family was very much ashamed of her. She continued telling that the years in the home were very bad, perhaps worse than death because often she was hungry, got beaten and sexually abused. But the worst was the feeling to be unwanted. She said she never in her life learnt what love means.

I felt queasy and unwell. But she appeared so calm and at ease with herself that it was clear to me that I would not have to worry about her.

I know for a long time that life is unfair. But I am time and again surprised how perfidious a human can harm another human being.

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