© By Othmar Vohringer
I asked my father the above question when I was about seven years old. My father replied, “When your friends die faster then you can make new friends then you know that you're getting old.”
Over the past three weeks I was reminded of my fathers words in a painful way. Christmas and the weeks leading up to it have been an emotional roller coaster. Three weeks before Christmas I learned that a good friend of mine passed away in America. Then a week after that I received a message that a former professional colleague in Germany suffered a terrible work related accident. To this day he is in an artificial coma and doctors battle to save his arm and a leg. At this point even the doctors are not able to say for sure if my colleague will be free of any mental or physical damage due to severe brain and body injury.
On Christmas day I had a wonderful time with my wife Heidi and her family. For one day, surrounded by family and friends I was able to relax a bit and looked forward to a cheerful New Year celebration. Yesterday however, that wish was shattered, I received news that a very dear friend of mine in Germany suddenly passed away. This was a friend most of us are fortunate to find ones in a lifetime, more like a brother than a friend.
I am still shocked about this news and really have no words for it, but the tears in my eyes and the pain in my heart speak volumes of how I feel at the moment. Two weeks ago we exchanged letters in which my friend told me how much he looked forward to move to Spain this coming spring where the weather is warmer and not so wet as in Germany. We also talked about me visiting him in Spain where we have mutual friends. Now I will never see him again and it still somehow doesn't compute in my brain. I looked so much forward to this visit.
Somehow this reminds me of 26 years ago. I worked in Germany then. On a Thursday evening I phoned my parents in Switzerland to tell them that I would visit on Sunday. Saturday morning the phone rang. I picked up and my brother on the other end told me tear chocked that Mama just passed away in her sleep. This feels very much like Déjà vu. Instead of visiting I will attend a funeral.
New Year is supposed to be something joyful but for me, at least this year, it will end in mourning for the loss of two good friends and the worry about a colleague. The New Year is also a time for resolutions. Mine was to quit smoking but that will have to wait for next year, or whenever I feel like it. My resolution for the New Year is to spend more time with the few friends I have left and with my family. These are the two really important things in life. Family and good friends are like the roots of a tree. They give us stability and strength. We often take family and friends for granted but as the past several weeks have shown me we shouldn’t.
I wish all my fellow outdoor bloggers and my readers a very Happy New Year, good health and prosperity. You’re all like friends and have given me support through your comments and emails and I do not take that for granted. As we say goodbye to the old and welcome the New Year tell your spouse, children and friends how much you appreciate having them around you and how much they mean to you.
In 2010 Outdoors with Othmar Vohringer will continue to provide you with information, news and opinions on everything hunting and fishing related. 2010 will also be an anniversary of sorts. This blog will celebrate its 5th birthday. To be honest I never thought that my blog will last that long. Not only did the blog last that long but has grown to proportions I never thought possible. This would not have been possible without all of you and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
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