At the beginning of the year, I decided to volunteer as a senior citizen assistant.

This is organized by the association “LichtBlick Seniorenhilfe”. You are assigned a senior citizen who preferably lives near your home and whom you help with everyday things: helping with shopping, providing technical support for smartphones & co., sorting mail and finances, simply spending time together, talking and listening.

My partner was Fred. We met for the first time on January 19, and I've been with him a total of four times. We spent a total of about 12 hours together, talked briefly on the phone three or four times. Today, when I went to see him for our 5th meeting, I found out that he passed away a few days ago.

Although we really haven’t spent much time together, he has grown on me. Even short conversations can have an unexpected depth. During a short grocery trip, he told me how much he loved dogs, always had. Over the decades he’s had 4, 5 dogs; each one he described to me in detail. He also had plans to get an aquarium for his apartment, a really big one.

Fred also loved to cook. His favorite was to make a big stew, in the small kitchen of his 1-room apartment. Once, during a shopping trip, we bought all the ingredients for it: Carrots, celery, garlic, soup meat, marrow bones from beef.

What’s the point of leaving a teeny tiny artifact of memories of a human being in the form of an article on this website that no one will read? Probably none, I just do it for myself. Or maybe just to process what I experienced.

We had planned to play a game of chess together; we never got around to it. I had planned to bring our dog Dingo along to make him happy; that didn't happen. Missed opportunities.


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