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Jungfru – Birgitta Walsh
Birgitta Walsh


In February 1989, we arrived in Switzerland. When summer started it was time to see the country. Birgitta and I traveled on the major tourist trains of Switzerland. The Glacier express, where the incident with German I wrote of earlier happened, the Bernina Express and the Golden Pass line. We made a stop in Interlaken. We traveled up with the bahn to the top of Jungfru, the third highest mountain in the Bernese Alps. We had made this trip several years earlier with our four children. This time it was just the two of us. We had just come out of an ice cave located at the top of the mountain into the bright sunlight. We were totally alone. We stopped to admire the view and I noticed tears in her eyes. She turned and said to me “this is what it must be like to be in heaven.” Total stillness, even the wind had stopped blowing. There was a sound of ice breaking on the glacier below but it was like the tinkling of small bells. It was an amazing picture but the stillness is what I remember best. A scene where her emotion totally dominated the moment. Fortunately it stuck in my memory.

As the end neared and she became more aware of the progress of the illness one night in bed she turned to me and asked: “What is going to happen to me? Is this the end?” I thought and answered “you already know”. Puzzled she asked me what I meant. I said: “do you remember us standing on the top of Jungfru and you were overcome by the view, the peace, the quiet and the beauty of it all and you compared it to heaven ?” The sad question was forgotten and the moment lightened up. She replied with a laugh “Yes I remember, maybe your right and if so I will truly be looking down on you all”. “ If it isn’t there it will be someplace better,” I said. She laughed again and said, “I’m going to sleep and dream of it now. I really have nothing to be afraid of do I”. It was the only conversation we ever had on the subject.

Today I went back to see if she was there. The wind blew. The clouds were at a level above the mountain so there was limited sun. I did not find her. If she had been there it would have been the same beautiful day it was when she loved it so. So I can only conclude she is in the someplace better. Waiting for us all to join her.

The wind was slightly gusty. When the crowd moved away I took some ashes and attempted to put them just over the glacier.

A gust picked them up and scattered them widely out over the glacier. Maybe she was there and just wanted me to know she approved of my choice to come here. It is one place we never discussed but I remember how emotional our last visit was for her. It was her first taste of heaven. It was very near the top of my priority list.

This is just one of the many beautiful moments we had together. Now we get to share them with you. This journey has so far taken me to places I never visited before: Guildford, a bedroom city for London, and Brighton a major tourist attraction with more than you could do in the time I had, and yet the memories she had shared in the past made it like I was going home. These were two small cities you could really enjoy living in if you could go to Florida or New Zealand in the winter. They each had a charm. I took the time to explore them. I bought a bus pass in each place. Rode to the end of the popular lines and got out and walked an hour. You see a lot that way. They had very active theater groups. The places were clean and neat they both had a university environment. I walked both campuses and was struck by the variety of students I found. People from every nation of the Empire, all 71 of them, and many others from China and other oriental countries. United Nations in a little town. It has truly been a learning experience. It’s nice I didn’t have to do it alone. I feel her with me every step of the way.

I had a though about the last time we were here with the children. Standing looking up at the Eiger and Jungfru I had this feeling that if you really want to understand how very insignificant we are all you need to do is visit this beautiful place. It should put any ego into perspective. Using America’s most overused word its “Awesome”.

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