Wednesday, November 05, 2008

RIP: Tante Barbel

My German aunt Barbel died last week. She was 82. The very first female dentist in her town of Braunschweig in the 1950s (there was controversy at the time between her and the one other, male, dentist in their town). The last time I saw her was in 1983. She spoke primarily German, so I couldn't communicate with her very well, but I remember her friendly eyes and expression and manner, and her group of friends that I was too scared to interact with.

Her house was beautiful. Back in the '50s, she'd married an architect, and he'd designed their home that she lived in for the rest of her life. (The stairs upwards were wooden, and separated. My aunt's beloved collie-dog Harris once slipped on them...after that, he would never attempt to go upstairs to sleep with her in her bedroom.)

I never knew the architect-uncle. At some point in the early '60s, he had an affair and, torn between his wife and his lover, parked his car out in a field and shot himself.

My aunt's daughter, Susie, also died young, in her early 20s, from severe complications from asthma. She was always nice to me, and, funnily, the last time I was there with my six-year-old brother, her boyfriend got jealous of the attention she paid my six-year-old brother! He sulked every time she'd play with him!

The husband and Susie are already buried next to each other. My aunt didn't leave any burial instructions, but they'll all three now be reunited.

1 comment:

sandra said...

Your belief is so dear, and so grateful.