This Is Not Goodbye!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

In July I lost a dear friend, Norbert Eggert.WordWeavers (my Toastmasters club) held a meeting after his funeral where a couple of us reflected upon what Norbert. Below you'll find the text that my speech was based on.

Norbert: This Is Not Goodbye!

How do you say good bye to a friend? As we grow older, we all face this situation more and more often. Last week was the funeral for our dear Norbert, several of us said our goodbyes, tonight we’re honoring Norbert and giving Word Weavers a chance to think about what he has meant to all of us.

Norbert was one of the first Word Weavers I met. When I decided to check out area Toastmaster clubs, Norbert was one of the first people that I met. I remember that we were meeting in Alt Wiesbaden back then and on a pleasant Summer night after a Word Weavers meeting and we were able to enjoy a very pleasant Wiesbaden night, sitting outside. It was this very socializing that I really liked about Word Weavers. Norbert was always enthusiastic about talking to guests and to everyone.

You could tell right away with Norbert that public speaking wasn’t a problem for him. He was “a real people person” (as we say in America). He amazed me with the seemingly effortless way he did Table Topics. No matter what the question, he would often start out with “that is a good question”, no matter what the question actually was. He was good at thinking on his feet and often he would find a surprising way of answering his question.

At Toastmasters we’re often using the term “Authentic”, but this a good word to describe Norbert. He reminds me a lot of my grandfather. What you see is what you get. He has seen a lot and been through a lot but Norbert always seemed cool, calm, and collected. I have the feeling that he wasn't distracted by all the “noise” that surrounds us today.

I didn't know Norbert before his heart attack, but I know that he got a second chance at life and he used it and he savored it! He gave a few speeches about his near-death experience. His views on life changed and he looked at the day of his heart attack as another birthday, a rebirth if you will. He was a living example that we should all enjoy and savor our own lives.

Music In Norbert's Life 

There were a few songs played at Norbert’s funeral that struck me, because there were so many people at the funeral, I wasn't able to be inside the chapel where I could properly hear the music played, so I listened to the songs and I heard the versions of the various songs that I was familiar with.

I heard “I Can’t Stop Loving You”, (made famous by Ray Charles in 1962). This song reminded me of the speech Norbert gave about growing up in Frankfurt, how he liked Rock and Roll, how he enjoyed listening to record albums with an early girlfriend and that she left him her records, when she moved away.

When I heard “My Way”, I naturally heard the Frank Sinatra version from 1969 and I thought how great it would be if at the end of our lives we could all say that we did our ways. I believe that Norbert did it his way!

When I heard “Time To Say Goodbye”, I hear the version sung by Andrea Bochelli and Sarah Brightman from 1996.This song was already a bittersweet song for me (I’d be happy to tell you about that, but I’ll save that for another speech), but now this song will forever have an additional link to Norbert and I’ll think of him.

For me, remembering the lives that we’ve lost is important. I would like to do something to help keep the memory of Norbert alive after today. I think it would be great if we could do something as a club to this end. I’m open to ideas, so let’s think about this and see what good things we can do to honor Norbert’s memory.

In closing...

I’m reminded of the death of Spock in Star Trek II, where he said to Captain Kirk,...

„I have been, and always shall be, your friend.”

I found a great quote from Isabel Allende in her book Eva Luna, that fits very well..

“There is no death, daughter. People die only when we forget them,' my mother explained shortly before she left me. 'If you can remember me, I will be with you always”

Norbert might not be physically with us any longer but he made quite an impact on many of us.