„Dem Himmel zu nah“, 2016
> movie > Dem Himmel …
„Dein Schmerz ist auch mein Schmerz“, 2011
„Was bin ich ohne dich? Wie Angehörige den Suizid überleben“, 2018
www.zdf.de/dokumentation/37-grad/37-was-bin-ich-ohne-dich-100.html, verfügbar bis 12.6.2019
„Im Winter ein Jahr“, 2008
> Im Winter…
„Der letzte schöne Tag“
Spielfilm, DVD bei Amazon.de
Personal. Because it helps …
... not having to bottle it all up.
If I describe it, perhaps others will be able to imagine it.
If I open up, perhaps others will dare to reach out to me, or tell their own stories.
I don’t want to be alone any longer. My pain and my longing change with the telling of them.
My father did not return home for lunch as usual on the dot of half past twelve. Suddenly my mother noticed that his coat was still hanging there and his briefcase was propped against the wall. We finally found him in the cellar. There he lay, his body twisted, his face covered in blood. He had shot himself. I looked at him for no more than a second, but that picture branded itself onto my brain like a photograph. But a photograph that couldn’t be real. That wasn't my Father!
When a friend and I went into the village later that afternoon, I saw the bus pass by and the baker’s door open. I was stunned. I’d thought that the world would stand still for everyone else too.
A few days later, when we saw him for the last time, I still couldn’t believe that it was him. It was all so unreal. That wasn’t his body! That was just a waxwork.
I was so deeply ashamed. Surely I was the one to blame – I was such a naughty child!
I kept on seeing him on the street or in the bus. There he was – my Dad! And then I would break out in a sweat, my heart would start racing and I’d feel like I’d been punched in the stomach. I simply couldn’t understand why he was no longer there for me. I simply couldn’t believe that he was dead.
I started skipping school after that, often for days at a time. Eventually I received a sharply worded caution and was sent to the school doctor. He checked my arms for signs of drug use and found nothing. And that was that. No one wanted to know the real reasons for my truancy.
So I was left alone with it. Alone with my grief, my shame, my fury. Although I talked about it, no one really wanted to know how I was – that I was on the verge of losing it.
Nearly four decades have passed since then and my father now has a place in me and in my story. I can remember him as he was and feel his love.
That one appalling act deprived me of so much! I missed out on so much, failed to achieve so much, shed so many, many tears. But now I can see something I gained, too: My extreme vulnerability and sensitivity enables me to empathize with others and to show care and concern for them – and for myself.
A lot of things can now be laid to rest and lovingly cherished. I’ve found room for new things and I’ve been able to grow.
Ingrid, October 2018
My parents went to the exhibition with a friend. They found a picture there they both wanted to buy. It showed a tree composed of hands from which birds were pecking seeds. When I asked what the painting meant, they said that you have to feed birds for people who take their own lives because the birds soothe their tormented souls. I still have that picture hanging in my home. It’s a wonderful picture. There’s something very calming and soothing about it. His soul is now at peace. He told me so himself one night.
I was fourteen when my mother took her own life.
I came home from school and my mother had disappeared.
My father reported her missing and at nine o’clock that evening, two policemen came round and told us they had found her clothes.
It was all so unreal – the funeral, the condolences, the family gathering, all the words and expressions of sympathy, which to me had no meaning.
I’m no longer really there.
I dream at night that she has come to fetch me.
I see her everywhere in town.
I’m lost without her.
I don’t want to be without her.
I go to school.
I do the housework.
I’m strange to myself.
I’ve fallen out of life.
I still miss her today, decades later.
I miss her for her kindness, her warmth, her energy, her love of life, for the whole of her being as a woman...
She was a great gift.
In those few years we spent together she taught me many important things that have remained with me throughout my life.
Your daughter B.
Where are you now?
I see you in a vast forest, in the mountains, in the sky...
I hear you whispering in the wind, in the dancing leaves, in the raindrops…
I feel your presence at sunset, when I gaze at the stars…
I sense you everywhere!
How it is?
“Papa took his own life last night.”
The world, time itself, stood still. I knew instantly that I would never see him again, that we would never talk to each other again,
and it hurt so much! I was too late! I had missed him!
It is like fine sand trickling through your fingers.
On 3 September 2010, the day I learned that my father had shot himself in the night
that is to say “I was over, past, gone, lost”
because everything fell apart. In my impotence, I became aware of mortality.
“That can’t be true” “I miss him” “I lost my father” “I’m lost” “Everything is lost”
“I was” “It is over” “I'm too late” “Nothing can undo this” “The world is falling apart.”
“Being alone and misunderstood”
a rollercoaster of profound grief, love, anger, impotence, pain, feelings of guilt
I have accepted the suicide and the emotions as part of my life.
I still cry from time to time, but that’s ok, even if it hurts.
It is a familiar pain, and contained within it there is
deep love and attachment. Sometimes it is faraway, as if it had evaporated and become a mere fact, even for months at a time.
But suddenly it’s there again, very close,
and the emotions well up again, seeking release.
That is something I allow myself, but generally only when I am alone.
In the presence of others I block,
or am too ashamed. Only rarely do I not care at all.
It is accompanying me through life. And sometimes I ask myself:
“Did it do that before?”
The work of the subconscious:
Dreams are not froth. They are pointers and helpers.
The Inner Way
I dreamed of suicide in the night my father took his own life: I was in the classroom at school. The subject was suicide. And there was a man there giving us live demonstrations of the various methods. It was not a bad dream; after all, it was school. But then I woke up and was shocked, because in retrospect it seemed so violent. I fell back to sleep again a few minutes later. Next day I put the dream out of my mind and went about my daily business as usual. But then in the evening I received a telephone call from my mother, telling me that my father had taken his own life that same night. While I was dreaming about suicide he had shot himself. Curiously, “shooting oneself” was not one of the methods explained in my dream. Somehow, in my subconscious I had had an inkling of what was happening, and my dream had made me aware of this, because I must have dreamed it at the very moment of his decease. Was it merely a random association of the subconscious, a premonition, pure information, or perhaps preparation? Why was it thus?
My father then began cropping up in other dreams. At first I dreamed that he was still alive and that it was all a misunderstanding or an accident. Once I was even able to talk to him. In the other dreams that went on for months and even years thereafter, I saw more and more of the reality: that he drove off, that his wounds healed, or that he said he was now dead and wasn’t really there since he was visiting me from the beyond. And so my subconscious gently brought me face to face with the reality.
What I want to say is that we should lend greater credence to our dreams and pay more attention to them and regard them as our helpers as we cope with our bereavement. Dreams are the work of our subconscious as it tries to come to terms with something.
My father had taken a pencil and scribbled two short sentences on the back of a paper plate. Those were his last words – at any rate the last words to reach us. They were also the last earthly link that tied us together. Those two lines were so important to me! Those words, being able to read those words – having at least something of him! It helped me a lot that he wrote them. I was able to hold something of his in my Hands.
What else helps? Writing, being creative. Artistic Expression:
I wrote reams and reams. Lots of letters to my father. Dialogues, thoughts, dreams, emotions. Gathering all my courage, I took a pencil and let my hand do the rest. That helped me a lot back then, and afterwards too. I kept those letters, although I could also have burned them. But years later, I saw the benefits of keeping them when I came across them by chance and read them all over again. Suddenly I was catapulted back to that terrible time and had to relive it all over again; and I realized how it is now and just how powerful such a crisis can be. But I also saw what I had been able to learn from it, and how deeply we can immerse ourselves in something. It doesn’t have to be writing. It could be painting, sculpting, singing, making music, dancing or something else altogether. I just know from experience that artistic expression is of tremendous value in overcoming trauma. Furthermore, it is a way of both enriching your own life, which really does go on, and of enabling you to learn lessons from all that you have suffered. That is my message of reassurance and support for other survivors.
Let your grief, your pain, and all the many other emotions swirling around inside you
flow into a well of creativity.
That is something that every individual can do.
You might at some point feel unable to cope alone. If so, you should seek professional help. The first person to contact might be your family doctor or the local pastor. Talk to them about what happened, about your grief, and about your fears for the future.
Notruf Kinder und Jugendliche
(hotline for children and young People)
0848 35 45 55
Elternnotruf (hotline for parents)
061 261 15 15
Ärztliche Notrufzentrale Notfallpsychiater
(emergency psychiatric Services)
061 325 51 00
Notfall für Erwachsene, Jugendliche
(emergency psychiatric services for children and adults)
061 325 81 81
UPK Basel Akutambulanz
Offene Sprechstunden für Erwachsene
(walk-in psychiatric clinic for adults)
Mon to Fri 8 a.m.–4 p.m.
061 553 56 56
Psychiatrie Baselland, Liestal
Notfall für Erwachsene
(emergency psychiatric services for adults)
061 325 82 00
Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie Basel
(psychiatric clinic for children and young People)
061 553 55 55
Psychiatrie Baselland, Liestal
Notfall für Kinder und Jugendliche(emergency psychiatric services for children and young People)
061 689 90 90
Zentrum Selbsthilfe Basel
(centre for self-help Groups)