A life too short
In a small country churchyard, deep in the farmlands of northern Germany, is a plain stone cross with two names engraved on it. It is a peaceful spot, the silence broken every few minutes by the regional express trains rushing past a few hundred metres away.
It is a sound that former Germany goalkeeper Robert Enke would have heard on 10 November, 2009 as he stood at the graveside of his daughter Lara, who died at the age of two in 2006 of a rare heart condition.
He had gone there to say goodbye. Turning away at last, he returned to his car, drove up the road, parked by the railway line and stepped in front of one of the trains.
The news shocked the football community across Europe. Enke was 32-years-old, a husband and father, at the peak of his career with Bundesliga side Hannover 96 and virtually a certainty to be wearing the gloves for Germany at the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa.
Enke earned eight senior caps with Germany. Photo: AFP
So why did he choose to end his own life on that late autumn day a year ago?
To try to answer that question, I went to Germany last week to speak to those who knew and loved Robert.
In many ways, the answer is a simple one but, at the time, only those closest to him knew it. Enke was suffering from, and for some years had been treated for, a serious illness - depression.
He wanted to keep his condition a secret for a number of reasons. Young, fit and dynamic sportsmen are not supposed to have days when they can barely get out of bed in the morning, let alone go to training, play a match, banter with their team-mates.
Least of all, those entrusted with the number one shirt, the last line of defence, the reliable, rock solid presence in goal. Think of the towering personalities of Oliver Kahn and Jens Lehmann, Enke's predecessors in the German national team.
Enke feared for his career if he went public with his depression but also for the future of his family.
After Lara's tragic death, Enke and his wife Teresa adopted a baby girl, Leila. Seemingly without justification, Robert believed that Leila would be taken away from them if the authorities knew of his mental health problems.
Speaking the day after her husband died, Teresa told a news conference that Lara's death had brought her and Enke closer together and that they had believed that, with love, they could get through anything. Sadly, she had found, that was not the case.
A year on, Enke's widow has chosen to grieve in private despite the renewed press attention brought on by the anniversary of her husband's suicide. But we were able to speak to some of those who knew him best.
Enke's friend, journalist Ronald Reng, has written a biography, based on the goalkeeper's diaries. Reng told me they had originally planned for it to be an autobiography, to be published when he retired from football.
We went to the Cologne offices of Enke's agent, Joerg Neblung, who was very close to the family. It was almost unbearable to hear him describe how he had been on the phone to Teresa at the moment she discovered her husband's suicide letter.
And we travelled to Hannover, to visit the club where, after ill-fated spells at Barcelona and Fenerbahce, Enke seemed to have found career satisfaction.
As captain of Hannover 96, he was loved by the fans equally for his outstanding goalkeeping skills as for his warm and thoughtful personality. Those at the club were delighted that, after years of underachievement in the Bundesliga, things were going well on the field and proud that one of their number had been called up to represent his country.
In the days after his death, the AWD Arena became the focus of the city's grief, in a manner never before seen in Germany.
Thirty-five thousand fans staged an impromptu march from the city centre to the stadium to light candles and sign a book of condolence. More filled the stands for his funeral service on 15 November, exactly a week after he had played in goal for the final time, in a league game against Hamburg.
'Robert, we will never forget you', Germany v Ivory Coast, 18 Novermber 2009. Photo: AFP
To those of us in Britain, it does not seem strange that a football ground would become a place of pilgrimage at such a traumatic time. We have become sadly accustomed to such occasions. In the last couple of years, I've been at memorials at Old Trafford on the 50th anniversary of the 1958 Munich air crash, and at Anfield for the 20th anniversary of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.
But the events of that week took Hannover 96 by surprise. Club president Martin Kind told me that there was no rulebook for such an occasion and the already grief stricken staff had worked long hours to allow the fans to congregate and come together to mourn.
As the club's press officer described the scene, it was like London in the days after Princess Diana died in 1997.
A year on, Hannover's supporters are planning to repeat the march to the stadium to honour Enke's memory. The city has announced it will rename one of the roads close to the ground after him. The club wants his legacy to be the Robert Enke Foundation, set up to increase understanding about depression among sportsmen and women, and to help them find treatment.
But another German international goalkeeper believes football still has a long way to go.
Bayer Leverkusen's Rene Adler claimed this week that the sport still puts intolerable pressure on its players. He told a German website that the fans who pay good money to come to games expect to see commitment and passion but not any weaknesses.
"Someone may be the Messiah one day and then three days later they are seen as a failure," Adler stated.
On the anniversary of Enke's death, representatives from the German Football Federation, the German national team and Hannover 96 will lay wreaths at his grave. They will see the tributes, poems, toys and flowers left there by fans over the past year - and his name, now engraved below Lara's on the stone cross.
And perhaps they will consider whether they still have lessons to learn from the tragic tale of Enke.
You can hear a special programme about Robert Enke, "A Life Too Short", on 5 Live Sport this Thursday night from 7pm.