Sunday morning, it’s still dark outside, but I put on my sports clothes and go for a run. Everything is still asleep. I don’t meet anyone except at the farm I pass, the cows are already outside filling their bellies with silage food. The light comes tentatively and it’s obvious that once again it’s not going to be a sunny day in the Unterland. I don’t mind, at least not now. I run up the steep slope, gasping for air to make it up the incline. The air is fresh and it’s not really cold but the hat does quite well. Exercise in the fresh air always feels good and this morning it feels wonderful. I reached the chapel of St. Verena and stopped briefly to see what the valley looked like. After 2 minutes I run further up, as if there was peace of mind to be found up there. Unfortunately, the further ascent did not bring peace either. Thoughts are rattling around in my head and I haven’t managed to “run” my head empty. The trip to Prague to visit my mother, planned for the end of February, seems to be postponed more and more, because two times of quarantine, locked up, without a possibility to go outside, I just can’t stand now.
Arriving at the top of the mountain, not even the redeeming fatigue has come. I may be in top form and have lost 4 kilos during Corona, but none of it is good for the soul. Running down the mountain is rewarded with great views but the knees and joints don’t like it so much. I decided to change the route and walk home through the city. On my way was also the cemetery and I decided not to run on the path next to the cemetery, but to run through the middle. It would be highly disrespectful to run through the peace and so even though there was no one around, I stopped in front of the stairs and went through very slowly. The cemetery is terraced and the different levels are separated by trees and bushes. I just wanted to walk through and then keep running, but suddenly I noticed the many fresh flowers. I walked towards the flower fields, which are very unusual for mid-February. Only now did I realise that there was not just one field of flowers, but two large fields full of fresh roses in all colours. There must have been a lot of funerals in a short time for there to be so many fresh flowers. I stood in front of the flowers, looked at the photos and the small gifts and written farewell messages. Horror and sadness rose up in me. Suddenly I heard snatches of words. As I got closer to the abdication chapel, I heard the conversation clearly. The funeral chapel has only three walls and is open on the side facing the cemetery. Inside, two gentlemen, both over 80, were sitting on a bench and talking quite loudly.
“Hans, I will start digging today. The ground is soft and who knows what will happen next week,” said one and the other just nodded his head. “If the frost comes again next week and he dies, I won’t even be able to bury him,” said the first again and the second continued to nod. “When he vomited the blood, I thought the doctor could help him, but even after the operation it didn’t get better,” the first continued. “All the medicines and infusions he is getting now are not helping. I don’t even know if he is in pain. I can’t help him. The fainting is the worst. That’s what gets to me, Hans” the monologue continued. “I thought the garden by the rose bushes would be the best place, that’s where I’ll start today and the hole must be big, you know he’s quite handsome. The doctor told me that he would leave the decision to put him to sleep to me. But Hans, he still eats and drinks, I’m not going to let him be killed just like that!” Until now I had listened without understanding what it was all about. Only now did I realise that the old gentleman was talking about an animal, perhaps a dog. “Hans what would you have done? Would you have had him put to sleep?” the first asked and turned to the second. He turned his head and I could see his face. He was crying.
I could no longer listen. The suffering materialised now there with this conversation, with the tears, with the fresh flowers. I could physically feel him. It was unbearable. I just had to get away. Away from there, away from the suffering. I no longer understood what the other gentleman was saying. I left the cemetery and sprinted home. But that didn’t help, the sadness remained.