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Week 2023#04: for some things you will never be ready
The beginning and end of life are two such things
Nothing can prepare you for your first encounter with…a meat vending machine. Germany is really weird sometimes. Then again, this is the logical conclusion of industrial animal farming and slaughtering, so what else should I have expected 🤷
What I learned
I thought I was ready for the inevitable, but I wasn’t.
Some things you just have to accept as they come and deal with them at that point in time. No amount of preparation or “getting ready” can help you in those situations.
When you speak to fresh parents about how they prepared for the new arrival, you will hear a familiar story:
We read books about how to change diapers/feed the baby/communicate with the baby/baby-proof our home.
None of that really helped us when the baby was finally here.
It was similar last Monday: we’ve been slowly coming to terms with my father’s impending transition, but that doesn’t mean you will be ready when the moment of truth arrives.
On his final day, we all gathered in the hospital after getting a call in the morning that his circulation has changed and we better hurry.
So we arrived about one hour before noon…and essentially just watched him breathing laboriously.
That was all we could do.
The so-called “death rattle” is real and it is not pretty.
One breath, every two seconds. Each of them could be the last.
Every irregularity in the breathing makes you tense up immediately, holding your own breath, trying to discern whether this will have been his last breath or not.
Every breath grinds down a little bit of your own strength.
Eventually, we started calling his friends, and distant family.
He can’t speak and is barely conscious, but we’re sure he can hear us.
If you have any last words to tell him, you should do it now.
We’ll put the phone one speaker.
I don’t speak or understand Persian, but you don’t need to in order to grasp the desperation in the voices of these last phone calls.
After a few hours of every-breath-could-be-the-last-one-and-we-don’t-know-for-how-long-this-will-last I couldn’t bear it anymore and I went for a walk.
Returning an hour later, the situation was unchanged.
I could take a few more hours of the breath-grind before this situation ground me down.
So I left.
An hour after my departure, I got a call from my brother: our father just passed away.
The feeling is hard to describe, but the closest I can think of, as kitschy as it sounds, is this: a light being extinguished.
You suddenly feel the absence of something, whose presence you haven’t even been aware of.
I’m not talking about my father’s physical presence or absence, I was very well aware of that obviously.
This is something else, maybe his absence from all possible futures being a certainty now.
Expectation vs Reality
My father will pass away this week: yes 😔 It even happened on the same day as I noted down this expectation in my journal.
I’ll officially take over the team at work: no. Due to the above situation, we’ve postponed this and my direct reports still aren’t officially my direct reports.
I’ll come back to Estonia for a few days: yes! Originally planned as a short stay to recharge my batteries before returning for another round of hospital visits, this trip back to Tallinn was necessary despite (or even because of) the changed circumstances. I arrived Wednesday night, and will return to Germany on Tuesday tomorrow for my father’s funeral.
Thank you Bolt for being so understanding and flexible 🙇♂️
The next electricity bill for the house in Sweden will be between 700 and 800 EUR: most likely yes, as the consumption in January so far has been almost the same as in December.
A larger pellet container in the Swedish house will get done: yes! This is a big win: while I had to purchase two pallets of pellets for around 800 EUR, this should be enough to heat the house for two more months. My trusted handyman on the ground, Olle, did an excellent job with receiving the pellets and building a bigger container for the heating.
It feels really awesome to manage all of this from Germany/Estonia while the actual work is happening in Sweden.
A lot, again. Here are some of the highlights that weren’t mentioned already:
Had an awesome evening with the team at one of my team member’s home: Kristi Saare wasn’t a surprise guest but turned out to be his wife 😁
on Friday an old friend came over and we sawed off 4cm off three doors in my apartment, in an attempt to placate the gas installation auditor. This is the last link a chain of requirements that stands between me and an additional mortgage on my apartment and thus ultimately between getting the house in Sweden ready for renting it out before summer.
on Saturday I was on a lovely dinner with friends, and for the first time in my life set foot into an apartment (a very beautiful one!) in Mustamäe.
on Sunday I gave my first paid “Decode Estonian” workshop and it was a great success. I’ll double down on this business in the coming weeks, as this has the greatest income potential and apparently requires little marketing.