30, April 2011

For those who do not know how Emil died, it happened while he was skiing with his brother Erich and a friend in La Molina, a resort in the Spanish Pyrinees. After a few hours of skiing and apparently feeling great, he collapsed at the end of a ski run. Although his brother and medics were immediately on the scene trying for 45 minutes to resuscitate him, there was nothing they could do. He apparently died from sudden cardiac arrest and most likely didn't even know what hit him, it happened so fast. (For more info on SCA: www.sca-aware.org/about-sca).
I am comforted in knowing he did not suffer as it was so sudden, and he was doing what he loved, with someone he loved, his brother.
I know many of you were unable to attend the funeral on April 2nd as it happened so quickly. I barely made it myself, having flown in the day before from Oregon with my 16-month-old daughter, Emilia (leaving my almost 4-year-old boy, Evan, and husband, Noel, at home). It was a beautiful ceremony in the forested hills of the Collserola, near where he was last living in Sant Cugat, Spain. Perhaps 80 or so people attended. Some family members gave speeches. A choir sang. All placed a flower on his coffin at the end.
He had always said he wanted to be cremated and have his ashes spread over Mont Blanc in the Alps, so his wishes will one day be granted. For now, some of his ashes are with his sister's in a coastal town's cemetary near Barcelona (Arenys de Mar) and some will be dispersed in Henley-on-Thames, England and Albany, Oregon by his immediate family.
He will be deeply missed. It is so tragic that his life was ended at such a young age (66), right when he was feeling perhaps his best, and with so much yet to savor in life. He was freshly semi-retired from Esade and Henley Business Schools, planning on spending time with his relatives in Spain and daughters and grandchildren in England and Oregon, and getting lots of projects done like organizing his photos and scanning his slides.
Luckily he lived his years to their fullest, rich with adventure and learning. I leave you with a comforting thought: the week before his passing he told his niece, Elisabeth, that when he thought of his life, he couldn't complain. He had lived it fully, enjoying so much of what he had experienced - travels, work, people he loved and was loved by - and has three daughters who are settled and happy in their relationships. What more could he ask for?
Thanks for sharing that, Papa!
13 May, 2011
Today, 13th May, would have been your 67th birthday. We have planted a beautiful magnolia tree in our back garden in your honour – it is only small, but I’m hoping that in a few years it will grow wide and high, and will flower a peppering of pink in May in your remembrance. Whilst munching on some cake we reminisced and pondered over your eventful and fascinating life, and joked with fondness about how much you used to like cake, and how quickly you were to help yourself to a slice – whatever the flavour! There are many things I’ll miss about you, papa. The small memories and times we shared – the occasional (and often quite competitive!) game of tennis, going for a swim together in the local public swimming pool, and for a soak in the sauna followed by an icy cold shower and plenty of yelling ‘ayayayaaaaaayy!!!’ Your loud voice and cheesy smile as you greeted ‘holi holi holi!’, our long discussions together, often sharing thoughts about history, current affairs, anecdotes and listening to your latest thoughts and experiences which I was always so captivated by. I miss you, papa, but at least you left us doing something you loved and in a way that was somehow in keeping with your spirit – sudden, unexpected and in the mountains, living life to the full.
Love, Maya
13 May, 2011
We too (Sonya, Noel, Evan and Emilia), planted trees in papa's honor today, the day he was to turn 67. A magnolia that blooms when he died, a flowering cherry tree that is in bloom on his birthday, and a weeping willow which he loved so much, especially on the Henley Management College grounds. The ashes I brought back with me were planted with the trees so he is now a part of the earth here in Oregon and will become a part of each tree. It makes me feel close to him and watching the trees grow and bloom will help us celebrate his life year-round.