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September 2015 - Nr. 9
Sybille Forster-Rentmeister, Editor-in-chief

Dear Reader

The end of August always makes me feel nostalgic. Not only does the month signal the coming end of summer, it also is the month in which I had to say good-bye to my mother. Like now I was writing to get the September issue of Echo Germanica to the printer and preparing to fly to Germany to celebrate her 80th Birthday, when I had that devastating phone call telling me that my mother had died.

I had no time to grieve. All preparations for her funeral had to happen instantly over the phone. How I finished the paper and packed a suitcase I have no recollection of. I arrived exhausted, fell fully dressed asleep on the couch and had to get to the cemetery at dawn with the help of her in home nurse.

I still grieve around the time of her birthday, the 27th of August or one day before Goethe’s Birthday, as she used to say. Goethe, her favorite source of quotes for any situation in life; and Tagore, the Indian poet and philosopher, the latter being a favorite with many of her contemporaries like Dr. Goegginger for instance.

After I had dissolved her household and come back to Canada I started to write a diary in letterform to my mother. I have long since stopped doing that, but I still think about her and miss her terribly, especially when things in life are not so rosy. When I stand over the sink in the kitchen I look out the window and talk to her in my head. She is my confidante who I can tell everything and anything to, even after all these years…Is it 20 years…already…or longer? I still grow Gladiolas and Marguerites, her favorite flowers, in the garden in her memory. They just saw the best of their summer and were magnificent his year.

I am thinking of all the people our community is losing each year. The number is growing annually. There are few things harder than losing a spouse, a parent or a child. Yet we carry on, keep busy, and find meaning in life in many different ways. Sometimes we we find satisfaction in doing something helpful to others, such as helping a neighbour in need, or volunteering in a club or other organisation. And with that we learn that help has to be needed and wanted first so it can be given freely and accepted gratefully. The offer of help cannot be made with a demand of something, as in: “I will help you if…”. The helper does not get to dictate anything. It has to be what is needed and wanted on the receiving end, not the other way around.

While we are speaking about help I would like to see German organisations of all descriptions help each other more. As we are shrinking in numbers we rely on supporting each other’s efforts to keep the culture going. And I would remind everyone that even though the largest and perhaps most important factor and carrier of a culture is its language, it is by far not the only one, especially if it is being shared with other cultures.

Next in line for a culture exchange is of course Octoberfest, always celebrated in Germany in September, because the weather is more reliable for a largely outdoorsy event. Wherever you celebrate, and whenever, we wish you a merry good time with a traditional piece of German culture.

Until next time

Sybille Forster-Rentmeister

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As the editor of Echo Germanica Sybille reflects on cultural, artistic, political and daily events within the German-Canadian landscape.
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Sybille Forster-Rentmeister, editor, editor-in-chief of Echo Germanica, comments, cultural, artistic, political, daily events, German-Canadian, Toronto, Ontario, Canada,

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