Part ten: goodbyes

 

On December 7th I woke up thinking about all the people in my world that I would be leaving behind, my parents, my sister, my Grandpa and aunt and my friends. That was the hard part, saying goodbye to them, knowing they would suffer the agony of death far more than I would. I wasn’t morose, I was enjoying my final days here, enjoying the evenings in the cellar, chatting on the phone with my family, writing, taking photos, spending time with God, I was enjoying myself and it felt new to me somehow. I had always had fun in life but this was different, this was full enjoyment filled with a new joy and a deep sense of peace.

 

I got the ride up the mountain today, it’s easier and I have things to do. As I drive into the courtyard I think of all the memories, the faces come and gone, the dances in rain, the snowy Christmases drinking gluwein, the summer afternoons eating ice-cream, the hours of conversations, the laughter, the tears, the deep discussions, all had on these benches. The fights, the forgiveness, the hugs and the waves, if these walls could talk they would have a million moments to share and the novel would be epic. From the years when it was the court of the valley,  or when they tried witches in the chapel and send them to the dungeon below, or the time when the Nazi’s wandered these halls and did unmentionable things in the cellars below, this place has been witness to the worst of humanity and the best of humanity in the years since it was built, and now it is a simple hospital for the soul, so many souls have been healed here, so many lives touched and I am in awe that I had been allowed to be here, that I was blessed enough to call it home for all this time.

 

I walk into my office, though I am technically not working I still use this space as my office and I sit down at my desk and begin to write. I write to my parents first, a letter each; when they are done I hit print and being the one to my sister and then my Grandpa, Aunt, and then a few friends and one to the entire community in which I live. When the letters are complete and I have printed them all out I fold them and put them into envelopes. With that done I sit back in my chair and stair out the window, fresh snow is falling and I feel the urge to go walking in it. Snow in the mountains is magical, and I grab my coat, hat and earphones and click play as I head outside, taking the back steps that lead to the farmers’ field below the castle.

 

The fear set it around ten o’clock, the entire building seems empty and cold and the clock is ticking closer and closer to December 8th. I walk through the hotel side, open the door to the cellar but tonight it remains dark and empty so I close the door and go to look in the kitchen but again the lights are off and there is no sign of life. I check every possible meeting spot for people but no one is around and then finally I go to the study center’s study hall and find the one person I can always count on for a hug and a prayer. He is sitting hunched up over his computer, his fingers banging away at the keys writing his thesis, well, that is my guess at least from the look of concentration on his face. He looks up at me when I enter and he smiles but I can see I am interrupting his thought flow. Tonight though I don’t care, I grab the chair from the desk beside him and sit down and tell him what is on my mind. He is the first person that I have spoken too about my death tomorrow and I have to admit I was expecting more drama, more concern but he just looks at me like I have lost my mind. Which I guess I probably have but it’s so real, so true to me, a knowledge more than a feeling. I ask him to pray for me and kindly he does but then he’s distracted again and I know he’s thinking of the work on his desk and despite not wanting to leave the comfort of a friend I stand and leave, he doesn’t even look up to say goodbye. The door closes behind me and I walk down the hall to my office where I take his letter out and in handwriting I wrote at the bottom. “I told you I was going to die you asshole” followed by a big smiley face. I placed all the letters in a pile and took them home with me so they would be easily found when the time came.

 

To be continued…

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Published by lauriehaughton

Author & Photographer

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