Interview about dying and death

May I say your name?

No I do not want that.

How old are they?

101 and four months.

Do you feel old?

Sometimes yes. You feel cornered. You no longer have a task, no goal. You know, I’m still a little curious. I want to know what’s going on outside. And here in the home one is so isolated.

How long have you lived in the nursing home?

The third year.

Did you live at home before?

Yes. I just gave up my apartment four weeks ago.

Home is your last stop in life. You will die here.

Yeah, practically I’m just counting the days I’m alive. (laughs)

Why are you laughing when you say that?

You’re suddenly over it. I can’t explain it myself.

When did it start that you “got over it”?

It’s not that long. At first I was worried: “How will you be when the apartment is gone?” But then everything went smoothly. It was even a kind of salvation. And now I’m practically penniless, just have a bed and a cupboard.

So life is now narrower on the one hand, but easier on the other?

I’m kinda . . . poor. It’s humbling because I need so much help. The body no longer cooperates. I’m not used to asking for help every day. Those are very simple things that you can no longer do. It’s cruel. But if you think, “Oh, I’ll leave it then,” then you degenerate.

Do you always have to pull yourself together to ask for help?

I can see the nurses are so busy. I don’t want to ring the bell just because something fell down. You feel like a worm, digging in the dirt and not knowing what to do. I know when you’re young you don’t think about that. I was young once too. At that time I thought: When I’m old, I’ll make myself beautiful. I go for walks and read. And all of a sudden you can’t do that anymore.

When did you start feeling old?

I was almost 90 then. When my husband died afterwards and the children left home, I traveled a lot at first. Scotland, Norway, Syria, Jordan, Egypt. I’ve actually always been healthy. Until the arthrosis came in my knees. And then I broke my wrist and a hip, couldn’t stay home alone anymore.

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