Thursday, 3 November 2022

Resuming Normal Life

Three weeks and one day have passed since my Dad died. We are beginning to adjust to a new normal life now, and for me that also means to resume (more or less) regular blogging.

Catching up since my last "normal" post will take some time, but I need to do this for myself; it is a bit like confirming that life is still going its course in spite of the big disruption and change my family has been experiencing.

I stopped my diary-style posts with Monday, the 3rd of October. This post will cover the rest of that week, which was sunny and mild throughout, with temperatures going up to 22 Celsius.

Tuesday, October 4, was the start of the working week after Monday's public holiday. After the usual trip to the Covid test station and visiting my Dad in hospital, I took a long detour through the deer park for my walk home:

After our five days in the Odenwald in September, I had begun to bring my tablet PC to hospital so that my Dad could look at the photos, something he enjoyed, and so I took many of the pictures of that week with him in mind.

Weatherwise, Wednesday Oct. 5 was the warmest and most beautiful day of the week. I had my 3-monthly appointment at my eye doctor's in the morning, and for the time between 4:00 and 6:00 pm, I had to wait at home because our water meter was scheduled to be swapped for that time. Therefore, no hospital visit that day - instead, I made use of the hours before sunset and took one of my favourite after-work walks, across the fields via Freiberg to Benningen and back home by train.

Even the usually not very picturesque railway tracks looked beautiful:

Same goes for the nondescript industrial estate I briefly crossed along the way:
Apples of various colours adorned the trees on the fields:

Coming up towards a cluster of farms about half way between Freiberg and Benningen:

Above, the first view of Benningen after the farms. Below, there is a path through a mini nature reserve (officially, a Landschaftsschutzgebiet, meaning there is no building allowed and no roads through it) which is popular with walkers, with and without dogs. Funnily enough, there was hardly anyone about that evening.

It was just after 7:00 pm when I walked up to my house from the station, facing what was left of the sunset.

Work, testing and the usual hospital visit were in order on Thursday, Oct. 6. Afterwards, I went back with my Mum; we shared a pizza before it was time for me to go home.

Before work that morning, I met up with my friend and her six-year old daughter. The little girl has started school in September, and her mother walks her to school every day until she is ready to go on her own. She goes to the same school I went to, and it was nice to be in front of the building still so familiar after all these years - and of course it was even nicer to meet my friend and little Claire.

On Friday, Oct. 7, work around my house began. Nearly two years ago, the path had been repaved (see here), but it was not done well, and on the south side of the house, the slabs were sacking and the wall of the cellar on that side was showing signs of humidity. 

The work now was given to a different firm, and from what I can tell, they have done a much better job.

Once again, I went back with my Mum after hospital to help her with a few things. At home, I prepared a creamy risotto with butternut squash for myself and O.K. - but he never arrived that night. On driving onto the motorway minutes after leaving the village, a lorry pulled over without checking, forcing him to swerve. His car hit the curb, resulting in a bust tyre - thankfully, nothing worse than that! But of course he could not drive on, and had to wait there for the service guys to pick him (and the car) up, and until his car was sorted the next day, he had to go back home.

Cream, diced bacon, butternut squash; olive oil, white wine, chestnuts and risotto rice.

He arrived mid-afternoon on Saturday, Oct. 8 instead, just in time for coffee and cake. Because I was waiting for him, I did not go to hospital for the second time that week.

For lunch that day, I was invited to a remembrance meal with friends of Martin, who died earlier this year. It would have been his birthday, and it was good to spend a couple of hours together, looking at photos and talking about him. 

After coffee and cake with O.K., we went for a walk on the fields, stopping on the way back for a shandy at the Feuerwehrfest in Pflugfelden.

For the last part of our way home, we tried to take pictures of the beautiful sunset, moon rise and the first stars appearing. Believe me - it was a lot more beautiful in real life!

We ended the evening eating the risotto I had made the day before, accompanied by the rest of the white wine I had used for it. It turned out nice, even if I say so myself.

No photos for Sunday, the 9th of October. In the morning, O.K. and I went for a combination of running and walking. After breakfast, I took my usual Covid test and then walked to hospital. I met up with O.K. in the palace grounds afterwards and we enjoyed a walk there before it was time for our evening meal, and O.K.'s drive home.


  1. Yes, it is always surprising how life goes on as normal when your own normal feels so different. You and your sister are a joy for your Mom during this adjustment time.
    I like that you had lots of photos to share with your Dad while he was in the hospital so he could see the beauty of Fall happening outside.

    1. He loved woodland and the animals there, and so I was glad that I came across the deer in the park that day - they are not always close to the path, or visible at all.

  2. Lovely autumn colours, and those views (and photos) will probably be lingering with you, associated with those last weeks of your dad's life.

    1. Autumn as such is a time when many are reminded of death, what with the daylight hours becoming shorter, trees shedding their leaves and so on. In my case, it is even more poignant as my husband's birthday was this time of year, and his death, too.

    2. I can understand that Meike. At the back of my own mind when I wrote that comment though, was the spring when my mum died. I went for a walk (with camera) out at their house a couple of weeks before (the last time I saw her, as her death was sudden) and images of that are still connected in my mind. (For me, with both my parents' funerals, instead of autumn, there was the seasonal contrast of spring/early summer vs death.)

    3. The day of my Dad's funeral was very warm, well over 20 C, in spite of it being the end of October, but there were brown and orange leaves everywhere.

  3. I'm glad you were able to share the great photos with your Dad and it is good that you have gone back and capture this time in your life (for yourself and the blog) as it becomes too difficult to remember things the longer one waits to write them down. I'm sure it feels a bit poignant to write about this week before your Dad died, but it will be helpful in the years to come to remember the time and love you shared with him. Thinking of you, Mom and sister.

    1. Thank you, Mary.
      It does feel a little odd writing about these days when I did not yet know that a week later, my Dad was going to be gone. But writing has always helped me in difficult times, and this is no exception.

  4. A deer park any king would covet.
    Apples on the trees, ripening in the sun.
    The little farms between Freiberg & Benningen.
    Claire's first day at school.
    Lunch in memory of Martin.
    Risotto rice & chestnuts & a glass of wine.
    The great good news of OK's escape from that car crash.
    These are golden moments in a life.
    When my father died I would think, The Old Man would have enjoyed this view.
    Make every day count, my father used to say.
    My favourite YouTube cleric is Bishop Robert Barron, who resides in Los Angeles, a city my late brother George lived in for thirty years and called Psycho-polis.
    In spite of many offers to visit I never saw Psycho-polis and never will.
    Give me Germany any day.

    1. The deer park was first the Duke of W├╝rttemberg's; once the dukedom became a kingdom, it was of course the king's. It was much larger then than it is now, and used for hunting instead for walking. I much prefer today's version.
      I wasn't present at Claire's first day at school; that was back in September. But school is still a novelty for her, and it is nice to see how well she is adjusting.
      When O.K. rang (still on the parking lot at the Autobahn where he was waiting for the service car) and told me of his dangerous encounter with the careless lorry, I nearly cried with relief that nothing had happened to him.

  5. I left a comment but it didn't go through somehow! I just wanted to say that I was glad that you were able to share photos of nature with your Dad. Also, some had left comments on past posts saying that they were not close to their fathers. That is so sad. Aren't we lucky that we had the best fathers in the world? Sending you a big hug. ❤

    1. I checked spam but there was no comment from you, Kay.
      After our Odenwald holiday in September, I showed my Dad the pictures and he really enjoyed that. I kept thinking of things to show him, topics to talk about that he would be interested in and able to understand. Complex issues were beyond his grasp by then, but he did appreciate pictures.
      You are so right - we are lucky and privileged for having had such wonderful fathers.

  6. One of the things for which I admire you most, Meike, is your strength of will when it comes to walking. On the whole I love walking and it's only 7 miles/ 11 k into town and my favourite walks in the woods. However, I rarely make enough time for more than one or two a week.

    1. When and wherever I can, I walk - I feel deprived if the weather, circumstances or my own health prevent me from walking. It takes more strength of will for me to stay seated at my desk than to go out and walk!