Teresa’s Second Anniversary of Death

Teresa 1989 at Youth Park in Taipei
Teresa 1989 at Youth Park in Taipei

Today is Teresa’s second anniversary of death. The past two years have been exceedingly turbulent, especially in the beginning. Living without Teresa was just impossible for me to imagine. I did not count the nights crying myself to sleep, or getting up full of grief in the morning trying to fulfill my daily duties somehow, however without any hope of recovery. Neither did I count the sudden attacks of misery haunting me over and over during the day, trying to hide my feelings from my workmates. The comforting words of friends and loved ones – that time will heal all wounds and I would one day recover from that tragic loss – they sounded hollow and vapid to my ears. I thought by myself: They do not have any idea what they are talking about, they did not experience this firsthand. Surprisingly, little by little, I received consolation through something totally different.

At the end of April 2014, Teresa had passed away for not even two months, I began with my search for traces. I could not help being struck by a certain thought: I wanted to contact the Augsburg theatre in order to get an audition for being a member of the extra choir. Teresa herself used to sing in this choir for about five years and has been involved in numerous opera productions at the grand opera house as well as at the open air theatre. I followed the prompting, and to my great surprise I immidiately succeeded to be accepted into the choir. So I spent the early summer 2014 on the open air stage singing My Fair Lady, the musical Teresa had sung at the very same location 15 years before. Many of the choir members of both extra choir and opera choir still knew Teresa and had kept her in good memory. I stepped into a world that had been reserved to Teresa, unknown to me and now opening to me a bit at a time.

What an unparalleled adventure! Teresa always had spoken about music’s healing effect, and now I was doubtlessly able to feel it! My heart filled with gratitude, night after night I stood on the stage – first the open air stage, later the stage of the grand opera house – and experienced the master pieces of music theatre firsthand. The overture of Lohengrin for instance is adorably beautiful, and since the choir was staged as a still life and was not allowed to do the slightest move, I was able to literally absorb the music. The effect was almost hypnotic.

It has been the choir where i met Constanze. She answered my e-mail message I wrote to all extra choir members expressing my gratitude for having been received so well. We wrote one another once in a while, saw each other of course on stage and during rehearsals, and eventually fell in love on January 2 2015, when I accepted her invitation for dinner and visited her in Munich. We have been a couple ever since, however we kept it a secret towards our theatre colleagues for a while. Funnily enough, the director of Macbeth, Lorenzo Fioroni, staged us as a couple in this production, and we strolled over the stage arm in arm although nobody knew that we actually belonged together. Fioroni felt it!

Constanze and me were planning our wedding ceremony for August 8, 2015. This is a special day, as Augsburg is holding the Grand Peace Festival – a public Holiday –, but the civil registry office in Friedberg is opened. One day later we took off to the USA for our honeymoon and spent never-to-be-forgotten days in Denver, Salt Lake City, and Las Vegas. One of the many highlights of our journey was a rehearsal together with the Tabernacle Choir in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City under conductor Mack Wilberg.

Constanze had to turn her back on her beloved Munich. She quit her job and moved in with me to Friedberg, which meant a great sacrifice to her. One of her first ideas about how to beautify our common home was to enlarge Teresa’s beautiful portrait photo, place it in a nice frame and hang it on the wall in the entrance area. Below the portrait also a Christus statue – a replica of the renowned Thorvaldsen Christus statue – found its place. It has become a beautiful and peaceful site, a site of reverence and remembrance towards a woman with an abundant life who had blessed so many people.

During the recent months, not many postings have been published by me on Teresa’s website – the grief just still weighed too heavily on me. Her legacy and her memory, however, have by no means been forgotten. On the contrary: Today, I am more grateful to her than ever. And the great number of material existing from and about her – in the form of photos, journal entries, discourses, notes, music, and videos – will be made available over time, little by little, as she has deserved it and meanwhile I am feeling capable to do it. For me, Teresa is and has ever been one of the truly great women of our time, and I am overly grateful to my Heavenly Father that he granted me the privilege of taking care of her for the course of 26 wonderful years.