It is more than a week ago already since Marlies and Adrian Haselton and Elly Wright attended the woodland funeral of our much loved In Limbo friend Doro Bechinger English.
We’d like to share here the moving tribute from our Director Elena Remigi, which was read out during the service.
‘I am sad to be unable to attend the funeral of a very special friend and incredible woman I had the privilege to know since 2017, but am grateful to be able to say a few words to pay a small tribute to her.
Doro and I met shortly after the Referendum result, when we opened a group called In Limbo with the aim of collecting testimonies from EU citizens caught in the Brexit nightmare and left in limbo.
Doro was one of the first people to join and to leave a testimony for the book we wrote to make our voices heard to everyone interested in getting an insight into the bureaucratic and psychological nightmare many citizens had been left in – especially mixed British and EU couples. Doro wrote a very touching testimony about her diminished sense of home and belonging – a feeling shared by many other EU citizens too, followed by a second testimony in 2019. I will now share part of both testimonies.’
“In September 1976, I travelled by train to Liverpool for the first time, to start a course in Occupational Therapy. It was the start of my life in the UK, the start of something new.
I did not know then that I would end up spending most of my life in the UK. Becoming an Occupational Therapist gave me a foundation for adult life. It is an amazing career which allowed me to meet many wonderful people from all walks of life. I loved my life in Liverpool. The city felt like home.
I was working in a stroke unit when I met my husband who was doing a locum at the hospital. This year I will be married for 30 years. We have three children who grew up here. I call the UK my home, but I also feel very connected to the part of Germany where I grew up.
But today it is so much harder for me to feel at home in the UK. It makes me feel so sad that the rug has been pulled from under our feet. Feeling at home is so much more than sorting out an immigration status. It helps, but being accepted and feeling safe and relaxed is so important.
Since the referendum I find it much harder to navigate my life outside my home. There is always that little bit of tension inside me. I have been feeling quite destabilised. It has unleashed an existential angst in me.
I feel I’m now “the other.” I can’t shake off this feeling however hard I try. We had to endure so much hate and propaganda against us, and our lives are governed by constant uncertainty and chaos, by ever changing contradictory statements how “welcome” we are.
Whatever happens, too much damage has been done. Healing is possible, but how long will it take?”
In the other testimony she writes:
“A few years ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had many months of active treatment. It is an interesting experience being on the ‘other side’. Whilst being treated I could not travel abroad. I found that thought very difficult. What if I do not make it and never see my German family? I know it is an irrational thought, but I wondered if my soul can rest in
this country. In so many ways I was lucky that the staff at the hospital were very kind and I felt in very safe hands.
A cancer diagnosis brings a lot of uncertainty about the future.
The Referendum brought another layer of it”
‘So, Doro fought two battles, but she never gave up.
I always picture her carrying leaflets, holding banners or marching. Together with Peter, she was a constant presence with us until the pandemic struck, and, even then, she never lost the will to fight for her life and her beliefs.
Dear Doro, I will miss our chats. Thank you for your commitment, your intelligence, for all the good you brought to the world with your caring attitude and for teaching us the meaning of bravery. Grazie, cara amica!’
Elena Remigi concluded her eulogy by offering to Peter and the family heartfelt condolences from all the members of our In Limbo group. She’ll be greatly missed by all of us.