His name is Ferenc, but his daughter calls him Nonno. (Italian for Grandpa. His German wife, nicknamed Nanna, loved Italy and spoke fluent Italian.)
Ferenc had started writing a memoir about growing up in war time Munich, 1936-45. His grandparents owned a restaurant and two apartment buildings. “Sometimes they didn’t get any rent because renters had no money,” daughter Kat Schuetz says. Rather than serve in the Nazi army, Ferenc’s grandfather worked for the Munich fire department. Kat’s grandparents “didn’t dare speak out against Hitler. The fear was suffocating. When my father and his brothers were playing outside in the debris, there were constant bomb alarms. They hid wherever they could.”
A retired marketing manager for a large German company, Ferenc enjoyed visiting Kat and her family in Sarasota and spending “endless” hours in the sun. Kat describes her father as “happy and confident.”
But last November, Ferenc was feeling neither happy nor confident. Stomach pains caused him to be rushed to Sarasota Memorial Hospital to undergo colon surgery and a colostomy. 2 weeks later, he returned to Kat’s house. 2 days after, his kidneys failed. The doctors said he needed dialysis or would die.
“He chose to die,” Kat says. “We called hospice and brought him back to our home.”
Ferenc Koeppl wasn’t religious, Kat says, but in 1981/2, the family had spent a year in Venezuela. Ferenc backpacked through S.A. on his own, visiting sacred sites including Machu Picchu. There he met an old shaman. “My father is very friendly, and they bonded.” The shaman told Ferenc about his rituals and traditions.
So last fall, as her father lay dying, Kat called a shaman “to accompany him into the afterworld.”
Kat is spiritually inclined. She receives messages about people in her dreams. When her mother died, 3.5 years ago, Kat and her mom “stayed in contact.” Kat sought out spiritual guides to help her understand her dreams. One such guide is British shaman Chetna Lawless, who spends winters in Sarasota.
Kat is co-owner of pop-up art gallery Nurjungekunst.de in Munich. She’s also on the board of the Sarasota Museum of Art (SMOA). We met through our mutual interest in SMOA. Kat and husband Florian, who co-owns several campus-based and online colleges in Germany, moved to Sarasota 5 years ago to enjoy some “fun and sun.” Their 2 sons attend the Out-of-Door Academy.
Shaman Chetna spent 2 hours with Kat’s father, supposedly on his death bed. After, she told Kat she’d “worked with” her father’s kidneys and shown him reasons to live. And that he “wasn’t ready to die.” Since that day Kat says, her dad “got better and better.” His kidneys are back to normal. They were told the odds of such a recovery are 1 in 10,000 among patients Kat’s father’s age.
Ferenc is now back home in Munich in a senior living residence overlooking the Alps. He meets with the Die Schlaraffen, a group dedicated to preserving the old German language, and works on his memoir. “He is happy… and healthy!” He and Kat speak at least twice a week.
Readers of my book, GODSIGNS, know how important spirituality was and is to my recovery. I experienced breakthroughs with an energy healer who barely touched me. The energy/spirit world is a mystery. Blessed are those who appreciate it.
Thanks, Kat, for sharing such an inspiring story. May your Nonno stay well.
Thanks again for that reminder that we are strange and mysterious beings, and more goes on than we can comprehend! I loved seeing you in FL. I might just check in again with my shaman – with the spiritual name of Gary! – and see if I can get some stuck things unstuck…
Glad you appreciated the column. I loved our lunch as well. May the shaman, or whatever, work wonders and may you someday know how fabulous you are.
Suzy – Thank you for sharing this extraordinary story! Ann
Thanks, Anne, for the lovely comment.
Great Story…and beautiful testimony to the will of the human spirit when a belief becomes paramount. He is living his dream, and isn’t Kat wonderful to encourage her dad!