“I, 99, Ehpadienne under the reign of the coronavirus”


To reduce one’s thought is to tear away a part of its truth. “If you have to shorten my testimony, don’t take out any adjective, they all have their own place and meaning.” On the third floor of the Foyer Caroline, in front of her window offered to the hills which surround Munster, Marylene Friz keeps the combat armor. As in the days of confinement. During these nine to ten weeks, she gave birth to her thoughts and laid down her feelings on a dozen blackened sheets on the fly (the full text can be found on our website).

From her writer’s pen, 12 novels to her credit, the last last winter, Marylene Friz chooses to shake up the language, on purpose, by presenting herself as an “Ehpadienne”. “It is a lady of nearly 99 years who allows herself this neologism, because soon it will be in your dictionary, given the plethora of press articles, television reports, targeting Ehpads since the appearance of the coronavirus, this beast unknown, indecent, devious, even diabolical ”.

“Do we think that the impossible has become possible? “

His journal began on March 7, when the “Covid-19 madness” broke out, to which his Carolinian home would pay a heavy price. “From that moment on, all things are linked to the disastrous disease. Some resist a fierce struggle whose victory cannot be defined exactly, if this term is appropriate to the uncertainty of the consequences. Others are hit hard, unable to measure up to the declared enemy who will lead them to the hospital, where the killer will complete his work ”.

In her manifesto, the resident first tries to restore the honor and image of her establishment, despite the disastrous catalog of deaths. “Do we think that the impossible has become possible? That these houses did not stock thousands of masks and did not have puffy gowns in their reserves. On the other hand, all people in retirement homes are old and fragile, ”says the almost centenarian in the form of a focus.

In the isolation of her room, the writer, native of Ohnenheim welcomes, on the front line, “the initiatives of the nurses, standing on the bridge, taking responsible measures, supported by the management and the office. They will lead, with a serious smile, an obligatory smile in their eyes above the surgical mask, an outcry which will lead the nursing assistants in a whirlwind of action vis-a-vis patients in the room ”.

“A kind of cold war […] the enemy remains hidden ”

In her story, she exposes her knowledge, her feelings, her frankness also, in the service of the residents of retirement homes, her classmates. She tells of her forced but saving isolation, between four walls, in “a room of 18 square meters where, between bed, table, wardrobe, two armchairs and a chair, I practice jogging several times a day with small steps of 15 cm, that is to say 45 m repeated three times a day, which is still 135 m! My fear is the fall; I cling to the furniture ”.

When loneliness weighs on her, she writes her ideas, her complaints, her hopes, on a corner of the table, within sight of family photos pinned to a section of wall; or contemplate “the landscape of the neighboring hills, the green foliage of spring shoots, behind the Hartmann city, the chain where the Vosges balloons stretch out in gray-blue. Remember, when you hold us. I dream of my childhood when the mountains were my vacation luxury ”.

During this quarantine, which bears its bad name as it lasted, the idea of ​​death sometimes crossed him. “Having lived through the war of 1939-1945, I am inevitably aware of the violent death without forgetting the mourning of the affected families. The Covid 19 pandemic is not war as we understand it but is a kind of cold war. The enemy remaining hidden in large question mark, is not detectable. The Covid 19 remains false token ”.

“Can we reinvent a Life? I ardently wish it “

And came that day of deconfinement, where the third floor, his own, rediscovered the dining room, a forced release with all the new protocols that showed that the world before was no more. The reunion with the survivors gives him the impression of a “community fragmented by a disruptive element”. “Does distancing open the door to dissociation? “. The morale, sometimes at half mast, is raised by the news of the family or by the music which comes up from the gardens.

Much later, his serological test returned to Munster. Positive. “If I am a survivor of the month of March 2020, healed by exceptional luck and no doubt also thanks to hereditary factors, it is out of a desire to be, even confined, faithful to my desire to do. Resignation is a foreign word for me, and resilience has not yet entered my vocabulary, a soft resonance word that signals a decline. Suffering can also enrich ”.

For the post-Covid, Marylene Holl-Friz expresses some fears, while the world seeks to rebuild itself in a whirlwind of unknowns. ” Switch. We cannot do it overnight and we are already riding on old habits contrary to what some lights suggest: we are resuming our practices before Covid 19 and let the coach roll on a helpless world. Can we reinvent our life? I ardently wish it! “.

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