Konstanze Göbel Halle / Saale . Cornelia B. with her mother Brigitte

Halle / Saale . Cornelia B. with her mother Brigitte

I got to know Brigitte B. in January 1989 during a period spent in hospital. We were in a nine-bed room together; our beds were next to one another. I took to Brigitte immediately: she was small and delicate, almost fragile, with bright eyes. There were no nurses at night. As I was the only patient in the room able to walk around, I looked after the sick. Brigitte worried me the most, she was clearly in a bad way. When I was released from hospital we exchanged addresses, tearfully. Later, when she too was back at home, I often visited Brigitte and took care of some of her daily chores. She was no longer able to leave her bed. 

At one point Brigitte had the urgent desire to be photographed with her daughter Cornelia. She painfully left the bed. On the sofa her daughter took her in her arms.

On the evening of 9  November 1989 I am sat by Brigitte’s bed once more. Together we follow the events on television. After it is announced that the Wall has fallen, she urges me to drive home to celebrate with my family. I do not wish to leave her alone in her condition, but she is insistent.

Arriving home, I hurry up the steps. My husband is already standing in the doorway with the children, cheering, two glasses of sparkling wine in his hands. Just as we want to toast the occasion, the telephone rings. It is Brigitte’s daughters. 

Their mama is dead.