This is for a friend. A dear friend. A friend who disappeared way too early.
Today we’ve got together to say goodbye to a colleague and a dear friend. Last week when I was in Switzerland I received this call nobody wants to receive. You went to the other side. I was in shock. I’m still in shock. I can’t believe it. I know, that is life. We need to accept it. But I’m in tears. And I miss you, my dear friend.
We first met in 2003 I think when you picked up my team mate Ulrike for lunch. It was a winter day, you were full of energy. And some months later we went for a coffee or lunch break as well. You worked in Translation, and from time to time you mailed me to check for tech stuff, and whether it is correctly translated in EM or other tools. It was great talking to you. But lunch and coffee breaks were too short for all weird things we talked about. At some point we found an evening to try out a new restaurant. Maybe every 6 months or so. And I still visit Tahdiq, the last recommendation you gave to me with my Oracle mates and other friends.
Later, you joined the Oracle Academy team. Taking care of the universities in Germany, Austria and Switzerland was a position just made for you. You did so much for Oracle’s reputation in this area.
We shared the passion for decent food and traveling. How often did we talk about where to go next. And how things were at certain places, islands, cities, regions, countries. We both like Südtirol a lot. You’ve sent me some lovely pictures from you and your husband Wolfgang from your trip to Gröden in fall 2019 before the nightmare with closed borders and lockdowns started. A few weeks later I was in the area, and you’ve sent me an audio message which is very hard to listen to. But at least I can listen to your wonderful voice this way.
Lots of Music
But the funniest situations were when you, a true night owl, sent me a text message at 23:45h during the week telling me that I HAVE TO LISTEN to a song. Oh how much will I miss these recommendations. You liked music as much as I do. In the older days, we copied CDs for each other. I still have some here you gave to me. Some were strange but many triggered my ear. And some made it into my selection of all-time favorites.
On Saturday night I sat down with a glass of Suntory Hibiki in front of my audio system and did listen to Fink. I had never heard of this guy before. Until you, full of excitement, gave me some files you’ve just bought. I was hooked on right away and bought Kind of Revolution. This voice, the clarity of the recording. Amazing. I bought newer recordings as well, and before the pandemic stopped all traveling I found this rare live record double LP in a Japanese record store in Tokyo. I’ve had to take it home. I’ve told you about it. But we never had the chance to listen to it together. You’d have loved it.
I cried a lot that Saturday night.
Lots of Emails
Today, I went through all our mails. My SENT folder dates back until 2005. I count more than 500 emails. And reading through them is like a time travel. Over the many years we shared a lot of thoughts. Oracle rumors and news. Private stuff. I can’t think of anything we haven’t talked about. There was never a second of doubt that I couldn’t trust you, no matter how secret the secret was I shared with you. And I guess you knew that the same is always true for things you’ve told me.
I’ve had to smile when I found my CV from 2007 to one of the emails attached. I did ask you to proof-read it since your English was perfect. And mine .. well, we better don’t talk about it. This was 15 years ago when I applied for a role in development.
Earlier today, when I waved goodbye to you in your colorful painted coffin, we did listen to some songs.
You started telling me about your personal Funeral List in 2006. No idea how many people have funeral lists with songs they want to be played at this sad occasion. I have one, too. And sometimes I remove songs and add new ones. You did the same, I know.
Today, when your husband choose this song from your list to play, I’ve had tears in my eyes. I love Led Zep. I have all their records. I guess I would take Physical Graffiti and III to this mystical island where only 10 records are allowed. The one you’ve selected is from maybe the best debut album ever:
I browsed through our emails, and there are so many other songs you’ve added to this list. We could have sat down today and listen to all of them.
More from the Funeral List
One day, you gave me a copy of Stadium Arcadium. What a monument of a record. You wrote that you didn’t like all the songs on it – which I fully can understand. I have the vinyl in my shelf, it is a box spanning 8 LP sides. But this one made it on your list as well:
How smoothly John Frusciante’s guitar and Flea’s bass drive this song. I do listen to it quite often.
Noir Desir, Keziah Jones, The Eels … I have no idea where you dug out some bands. A few I knew already but others were totally new to me.
It was such a fruitful exchange of music, bands, artists, styles. One day I gave you Nick Cave’s The Boatman’s Call. And a little while later you had bought his new double CD record by then, Abattoir Blues / The Lyre of Orpheus. I have just a bad MP3 copy. But yesterday the record arrived. I had found it online. Tonight I will listen to it and think of you. Let me share this one with you which is on my funeral list:
I hope you pushed the sky away.
While I browse through all the emails, it is really like a time travel. Melody Gardot was one of the artists you liked a lot. Felice Brothers. Gotye. Oh, I remember so well when you told me “Listen to it“. And you gave me a copy of the CD. I’ve had it on heavy rotation for a while on my iPod.
Richmond Fontaine. And in most cases you commented “no idea how I came across him or her …“. Whitey. Fläskkvartetten.
At some point we exchanged thumb drives with new music. I still have an old one here we used as transport vehicle.
Oh, and there was Rodriguez. You were watching Searching for Sugar Man – and you liked the music a lot. You told me about the movie and the entire story, and of course the music over a Latte Macchiato in the downstairs cafe area at the Atrium office building in Munich.
You told me about how much you’ve enjoyed the Depeche Mode concert in Vienna you were visiting.
July Talk. Kings of Convenience. Ben Howard. Tord Gustavson.
And always birthday wishes in late September and late October. We both were traveling usually at our birthdays. You for leisure, I often for work at this time of the year. You took off. Madeira, La Reunion, Crete, Faro, Cyprus, Südtirol, and so many other beautiful places.
Covid stopped our regular meetings suddenly. We both were not fond to sit in a restaurant when places had opened again.
Still, I’m so happy that we walked in late March this year through the Olympic Park in Munich during lunchtime. I took my bike, we met at the park’s entrance corner. It was such a warm and nice sunny Spring day. We walked around for over an hour and talked a lot about work but also about normal things. You wanted to climb the Olympic hill. I usually don’t take selfies. No idea why I took one this time.
It was the last time that we spoke. We chatted on Slack a few times. And we planned to go to a new restaurant place you proposed after your vacation. Now it’s August. And I still can’t believe that you aren’t there anymore. About 20 people die in Germany every year from what has happened to you. It is such a sad tragedy.
You were such a wonderful person. Positive. Honest. Friendly. Open. Full of empathy. And a great inspiration to me.
We all will miss you a lot.
I will miss you a lot.
A long while ago I gave you an album from Apocalyptica.
Years later, you wrote:
Das Lied “Nothing else matters” von Apocalyptica – habe es vorhin auf meinem alten ipod gefunden und wohl derzeit von dir bekommen – geht mehr als tief rein, für mich ab Zeituhr 00:40. Ich kenne bislang keinen gecoverten Song von Streichern, der interpretatorisch dermaßen das Thema “Schmerz” widergibt.
Take care, wherever you are now!