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Hughes Funeral Home

481 Milkyway Street South
Cosmos, MN 56228
(320) 877-7411
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Cosmos MN Obituaries and Death Notices

Where Germans Make Peace with Their Dead - The New Yorker

Monday, September 05, 2016

Silesian farmers to fertilize their fields with cow intestines stuffed with chamomile blossoms, and stag bladders filled with yarrow root (stag bladders being “almost an image of the cosmos”). Steiner claimed that he, too, could see spirits in his waking life. “Just as in the body, eye and ear develop as organs of perception,” he wrote, “so does a man develop in himself spiritual organs of perception through which the soul and spiritual worlds are opened to him.”To my mother, the best evidence of this was a story she often told about her grandmother. In the spring of 1918, Luise was asleep one night in the upstairs bedroom of her farmhouse when she woke to the sound of footsteps outside. The village was deserted at that hour, her daughter and husband asleep. But she knew that shuffling gait and heavy footfall. It could only be Josef, her eldest son, home at last from the war in France. She lurched up in bed to greet him, then stopped and listened again, more intently this time. No. It wasn’t him after all. It was just his spirit come back to pay them a last visit. She lay down and shook her husband by the shoulder. “Jetzt isch de Josef gstorbe,” she told him, in her soft Black Forest dialect. “Now Josef has died.”A week later, they received word that he’d fallen at Flanders—on the same day that his ghost had passed by.I thought of that story one morning last year, sitting in a small drawing room in Berlin. It was on the ground floor of an ornate prewar building in the heart of the old western zone, along a leafy side street off Neue Kantstrasse. The room was bare of furniture aside from a dozen mismatched chairs and a dresser of figured maple. One tall window let in a wintry light. The chairs were occupied by a circle of silent, seemingly spellbound men and women, their eyes pinned on a woman at the center of the room. Her name was Gabriele Baring, and she was there to help them make peace with their dead.A man across the room was telling Baring about his family history. He was a therapist like her and a veteran of this type of gathering, known as a Familienaufstellung, or family constellation. Ulf, as I’ll call him, was a bearish man in a lumpy burgundy sweater. He wore suède sandals with dark socks and had a child’s bright, confiding eyes—a face not made for sadness, somehow, though he couldn’t seem to escape it. He and his wife had lost their home of twelve years, on a beautiful farm, when the owner gave the property to his son. “It was like being driven from Paradise,” Ulf said. He’d twice been hospitalized for depression and panic attacks since then, and he’d lost twenty-five pounds. “I’m wondering if this has something to do with my parents’ history as refugees during the war,” he said.Baring jotted some lines in a black Moleskine as Ulf spoke, and sketched out the first branches of a “genogram”—a kind of overgrown family tree. Ulf’s paternal grandfather had died in a Russian prison camp in the First World War. His father enlisted at seventeen, in 1939, and was sent to a boarding school for élite Nazi officers in training. He wound up in a Russian prison camp as well. By the time he got out, in 1946, his family had been driven from East Germany. Ulf’s mother was also a refugee, from Kiel, on the Baltic Sea. It was a lovely city before the war, Ulf said, laced with canals and bridges. But it had a naval base and a submarine factory, so Allied bombers reduced it to rubble. His mother was nine when her family fled.Baring looked up from her notebook and held Ulf’s eyes for a moment. At sixty-two, she still had the wholesome, high-spirited look of the German poster girls of the nineteen-thirties—apple cheeks and white-blond hair. But her voice had a smoky, conspiratorial warmth. Her own father had lost a leg on the Russian front and never truly recovered, and her home town of Hanover was nearly as devastated as Kiel. “This country had fourteen million refugees,” she said. “The fact that we were able to absorb them has been call...

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Where Germans Make Peace with Their Dead - The New Yorker

Monday, September 05, 2016

Silesian farmers to fertilize their fields with cow intestines stuffed with chamomile blossoms, and stag bladders filled with yarrow root (stag bladders being “almost an image of the cosmos”). Steiner claimed that he, too, could see spirits in his waking life. “Just as in the body, eye and ear develop as organs of perception,” he wrote, “so does a man develop in himself spiritual organs of perception through which the soul and spiritual worlds are opened to him.”To my mother, the best evidence of this was a story she often told about her grandmother. In the spring of 1918, Luise was asleep one night in the upstairs bedroom of her farmhouse when she woke to the sound of footsteps outside. The village was deserted at that hour, her daughter and husband asleep. But she knew that shuffling gait and heavy footfall. It could only be Josef, her eldest son, home at last from the war in France. She lurched up in bed to greet him, then stopped and listened again, more intently this time. No. It wasn’t him after all. It was just his spirit come back to pay them a last visit. She lay down and shook her husband by the shoulder. “Jetzt isch de Josef gstorbe,” she told him, in her soft Black Forest dialect. “Now Josef has died.”A week later, they received word that he’d fallen at Flanders—on the same day that his ghost had passed by.I thought of that story one morning last year, sitting in a small drawing room in Berlin. It was on the ground floor of an ornate prewar building in the heart of the old western zone, along a leafy side street off Neue Kantstrasse. The room was bare of furniture aside from a dozen mismatched chairs and a dresser of figured maple. One tall window let in a wintry light. The chairs were occupied by a circle of silent, seemingly spellbound men and women, their eyes pinned on a woman at the center of the room. Her name was Gabriele Baring, and she was there to help them make peace with their dead.A man across the room was telling Baring about his family history. He was a therapist like her and a veteran of this type of gathering, known as a Familienaufstellung, or family constellation. Ulf, as I’ll call him, was a bearish man in a lumpy burgundy sweater. He wore suède sandals with dark socks and had a child’s bright, confiding eyes—a face not made for sadness, somehow, though he couldn’t seem to escape it. He and his wife had lost their home of twelve years, on a beautiful farm, when the owner gave the property to his son. “It was like being driven from Paradise,” Ulf said. He’d twice been hospitalized for depression and panic attacks since then, and he’d lost twenty-five pounds. “I’m wondering if this has something to do with my parents’ history as refugees during the war,” he said.Baring jotted some lines in a black Moleskine as Ulf spoke, and sketched out the first branches of a “genogram”—a kind of overgrown family tree. Ulf’s paternal grandfather had died in a Russian prison camp in the First World War. His father enlisted at seventeen, in 1939, and was sent to a boarding school for élite Nazi officers in training. He wound up in a Russian prison camp as well. By the time he got out, in 1946, his family had been driven from East Germany. Ulf’s mother was also a refugee, from Kiel, on the Baltic Sea. It was a lovely city before the war, Ulf said, laced with canals and bridges. But it had a naval base and a submarine factory, so Allied bombers reduced it to rubble. His mother was nine when her family fled.Baring looked up from her notebook and held Ulf’s eyes for a moment. At sixty-two, she still had the wholesome, high-spirited look of the German poster girls of the nineteen-thirties—apple cheeks and white-blond hair. But her voice had a smoky, conspiratorial warmth. Her own father had lost a leg on the Russian front and never truly recovered, and her home town of Hanover was nearly as devastated as Kiel. “This country had fourteen million refugees,” she said. “The fact that we were able to absorb them has been call...