Last night I received a phone call from a friend in Graz. I used to work with him back in the 80ies for a couple of years. Back then his two daughters were just school kids. Time flies – both are mothers now.
We always stayed in touch ever since I left Graz. If time allows, I go and have at least a coffee with him, whenever I am visiting Austria. Some times I stayed over with him and his wife. And eight years back, the two of them came to Berlin to visit me for a couple of days. This was the first time, I had opportunity, to get to know his wife properly. She is really nice. Just like my friend had always predicted: we two hit it off immediately. But then again, we both come from the same area in Upper Styria and our social background is very similar, albeit she was a couple of years older than me.
Yesterday was an unusual day for a phone call. As it tends to get with people, you don’t see that often, those calls usually take place around birthdays or New Year. In our friendship, it always is the birthdays. But our birthdays are just two days apart, so it is really easy to remember for both sides. And calls are never more than two days late 😉
So, when I saw my friend’s name popping up on my phone last night, I was surprised. Something out of the order must have occurred.
And it has. His wife has died last night. I knew via facebook, that both of his daughters were on a trip in Hamburg together right now, so I was worried, they weren’t there to see their mom one last time. But he had managed to get a hold of them in time and both immediately jumped on the next flight back home, to say goodbye to their mother. As for him: he sounded so empty. He said, he just has left the hospital, having said his own farewell, but not able to stay to the end. He has left, with both his daughters still on her bedside. And he needed to hear my voice right now.
But I didn’t know what to say. I told him, that I am just back from Styria on another sad occasion, visiting my sick sister. And had I known, I would have come to see him and his wife, too. I was unable to find any words of consolation. This latest news keeled me over. I cried myself to sleep last night.