37°: To Live Again

Tz München

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They were a couple for more than 25 years, and were perfectly happy. She was the love of his life, and he of hers. Then Walther died from cancer, aged just 46. For Jutta Lundz, this meant no less than the end of everything – including her life. She saw no reason to go on. What was the point without Walther? At the end, by his bedside, she decided to kill herself. “Sitting there in the hospital, I knew I would do it,” she recalls. She swallowed more than 80 pills. But her attempt failed when her nephew found her and called an ambulance. She was rescued. In today's 37° segment To Live Again! and in the tz, Jutta Lunz tells us how she has been doing since then.
It was not, she explains, a yearning for death that drove her to suicide. “It was a yearning for Walther. When he passed away, it was as though my heart and my soul had been torn out.” She organized the funeral, seeing to everything. She made sure that the children (Walther’s daughter and son from an earlier marriage) were cared for. She wrote a suicide note. “This was no sudden, unplanned act,” she says. She took the time to consider her decision. “The moment when I woke up after my suicide attempt, it was just awful.“ Wasn't she grateful to her nephew for giving her a chance to go on living? “No“, she replies. “I would never tell him so. But I’m not grateful. I would have preferred that he hadn't found me.” Since then (it has been six months since her attempt), Jutta Lunz has been unable to lead a normal life. She has attempted to work again, at the agency of a publishing house where she worked previously together with Walther. But things didn't work out. “I can't manage it yet,” she says. Despite the fact that colleagues and friends show their support and concern. She has taken a 400 euro job, and receives a supplement from the District Office. She manages to get by – at least financially. She visits a psychologist weekly. With her stepchildren, she is only able to discuss what has happened to a limited extent. “I don't want to burden them with my problems.” Nonetheless, there are times when she feels better, for example when she goes ice skating with her grandchildren. Or when attending a friend's birthday party. But Jutta Lunz has not really started living again. To her ears, phrases like “time heals all wounds” sound utterly cynical. She cannot say whether she will ever be happy again. “There are times when I can control my sadness. Then, I have wonderful moments.” But at the same time, reality catches up to her, and she realizes “that he is no longer there.” “Every time that happens, it’s like a knife in my heart.” To be able to decide one day to end things, to decide for herself when she no longer wants to go on, is an option she retains for herself. “I need that sense of control,” she says, “in order to go on living.” (Stefanie Thyssen)

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