Saturday, 30 November 2013
November, this much maligned and most melancholy of months, is over. The hole was deep and dark and nary a glimmer of light visible on the few occasions when I strained to lift my head. I kept away from people, both in the real world and here; poor Beloved had to bear the brunt of the antisocial, miserable, self-pitying, gloomy me.
And please, don’t anybody come with a cheery “Be Positive” mantra.
For the person who is physically and mentally on their knees it is the most counter-productive, useless bit of advice anybody could give.
Strangely enough, it was a TV programme on my German home channel which gave me a leg-up this time. A discussion about death and dying, the five participants had either experienced life-threatening accidents and illnesses, or were involved professionally in the hospice movement. One man who particularly impressed me was the former Michelin Chef Ruprecht Schmidt, who gave up a career in top restaurants to cook for the ‘guests’ spending their final weeks of life in the Hamburg Hospice Hamburg Leuchtfeuer, giving each what they most wanted to eat, cooking the dishes ‘as mother did’. It seems that simple fare is what most people want at the end of their lives. Schmidt’s motto is “Wer isst, lebt noch” (you are alive while you can eat). Asked what made him decide to leave the stressful and competitive world of haute cuisine, he said : "It no longer gave me pleasure; I wanted to do something important and meaningful”.
Normal service will/will not be resumed tomorrow.