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Two weeks ago a skier from Berlin I knew well, died

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Back in 1959 I was lucky enough to be introduced to skiing by a man who’d taken up the sport in his early teens in Hitler's Germany in the 1930s, when few ski lifts existed and most skiers spent hours on skins to enjoy a few minutes’ downhill fun. I don’t suppose more than 50,000 people in Britain ventured to the Alps in the winters of the late 1950s, so I was an extremely lucky kid. That first trip to Kitzbuhel, through my six-year-old eyes, was simply magical. The nursery slopes of the resort seemed enormous. Every run lasted forever. Just one big dream.

Over the following years I was taken to Graechen (a sweet place near Zermatt), St Anton, St Moritz, Flims and Engelberg. The man took me down steeper slopes and longer runs. One winter in the 1960s I upgraded from lace-up leather boots to Henke clipped leather boots, made in Switzerland. What a difference those clips made, after years of trying to pull the infernal laces tight – fantastic. Then there were Look Nevada step-in bindings, which looked alien but revolutionary after years of struggling to shut the levers of cable bindings. I remember getting a nosebleed one winter's morning before ski school, straining with all my might to close those cable bindings!

Skiing the Alpine peaks, experiencing all the major changes in equipment and lifts, was a huge adventure which we usually took at New Year (Christmas was always spent in London). But the air in the Alps was often bitterly cold in early January. Sometimes my hands were so frozen and painful that the man used to take off his own gloves and shove my little hands into them to warm up.

On 6 December, in a hospice in Middlesex, that man who once took me down black runs and mogul fields could now barely suck water through a straw. His breathing was rapid and loud, his chest pounding and rasping with pneumonia. He looked desperately thirsty, so I gently tipped the glass to his lips and trickled a little moisture into his mouth. That way he didn’t need the straw, but I had to take a tissue to his chin to stop the water dribbling towards his pygamas.

Six hours later my 82-year-old Dad - Rudy Goldsmith - took his final breath and passed away. Thankfully the hospice nurses had given him an injection to ease his anxieties and give him a little comfort. I thought he'd make it to dawn, but it was not to be.

And so, two days ago, I pushed a button in a London crematorium that triggered a mechanism that slid his coffin gently towards his committal. It looked a bit like the machine that pulls a gondola around a ski lift station, but a lot less sophisticated. About 150 old friends and relatives looked on as the wooden box left the chapel to the sound of The Blue Danube by Johann Strauss. Dad’s last dance.

Ten days earlier my last words to him must have been “Would you like more water?” before he slipped out of consciousness.

I wish I’d said “Thanks for all that fantastic skiing, Dad. It was amazing.”
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My thoughts go out to you and your family.

I lost my Dad in February this year, all very sudden. There are many times I've wished since that I had said so many things to him.

I reckon your Dad will have known just how much you enjoyed those years of ski-ing with him as I bet you had a filthy great grin every time you ventured into the mountains with him. Those grins would have said thanks in bucket loads to him I bet.

My heart really goes out to you.

Best wishes to you and your family over this awful time.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
David Goldsmith, sad isn't it, when family dies. In our minds, though we know it cannot be so, they are supposed to be there forever, but they don't. May the good memories bring comfort.

Funeral in our family on Friday. We are sad, too.
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My condolences to you and your family. Within You your dad's love of skiing lives on.
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My heart goes out to you. That was a beautiful piece and proves to me the truth in making every moment count with everyone you love.

I wish love and happiness to you and also to your father who i am ure will look over your future ski adventures in one way or another.

xxx
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Very touching David, please accept my condolences.
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My condolences David, thanks for that very moving post.

In early 2006 I lost my mother and grew closer to my dad who was suffering from Cancer. Through his love of the mountains I rediscovered my old love of the mountains and skiing and as a result returned to them after a long absence but in May of that same year my dad lost his fight with cancer.

Every time I venture into the mountains now I have at least one moment when I remember and shed a tear but my memories are now happy and joyous and if I've learnt one thing from these events it is that life and experiences have to be grabbed and enjoyed before it is too late - no regrets, nothing missed.

Time will heal but you will never forget!
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My sincere condolences.
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My condolences, David.
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So sorry to hear of your loss David.
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Very sorry to hear that David, lost my Dad in August this year.

Thoughts are with you. Beautifully written post BTW.
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Very sorry to hear of your loss David. Keep hold of your wonderful memories.
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Condolences David. Very moving post.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
David, that was very sad and moving. It must have taken a great effort to write so clearly. Its good that you have all those wonderful memories of a father who gave you so much. Thanks for sharing them with us.

I still have a pair of those old skis with steel cable bindings!
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sorry to hear this I will be thinking of you this time of year my mother passed away in Dec 10 years ago aged 47 and my father passed away 4 years ago at the age of 54, you have to think of all the good times you had together mate


Last edited by Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name: on Thu 20-12-07 9:31; edited 3 times in total
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Thanks for sharing such a beautifully written piece with us David. My thoughts are with you.
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Thanks to everyone above for your kind words. I really appreciate it. Putting those words together was easier than writing the eulogy for his funeral, and emotionally things are much less pressured now.

My brother Robert completed the circle for my Dad, because he took him back to Kitzbuhel in a recent winter. It wouldn't be right to recount the full details of that trip, but suffice it to say that my Dad wasn't in the best shape to go sliding around on mountains.

He was a born optimist, my Dad - that's for sure!
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
David Goldsmith, A man I loved, my father passed away in October this year. Your eloquent writings do you and your father proud. I can empathise with you and my thoughts are with you and all in a fellow predicament. Keep us in your thoughts our good cyber friend.
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David, I can but echo the above sentiments. Your Dad would have been so proud of your tribute.

A big hug from me.
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I didn't think when I got to the office this morning that I'd be shedding a tear by 10am!

My thoughts are with you David.

None of us will live forever - we will all be mourned; let's try and live lives like your dad, that will rightly be celebrated when we've gone.
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My very sincere condolences David.

That is a moving tribute. I'm sure your father was immensely proud of the passsion for skiing he must have seen in you and that he was responsible for nurturing.

Mark
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David Goldsmith, I was crying when I read your posting (still crying). I know what you are going through - I lost my dad 10 years ago; he had been ill for 14 years.

My thoughts are with you...
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David Goldsmith, a very touching post, sorry to hear about such news.
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A very moving eulogy - my thoughts go to you and your family
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David Goldsmith, roga, thanks for writing so beautifully about such a personal experience. We shouldn't be so coy about writing about death, it helps the writer and the reader.
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An extraordinarily eloquent and moving tribute, David, there is no doubt that your father must have known how you felt about him, if you can write like that about him now. When my father died, I found that reminding myself that he knew very well how much I loved and admired him, was a huge comfort. My sincerest condolences to you and your family. Your writing brought back vivid memories for me and I too have shed a tear for you.
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David Goldsmith, I remember meeting your dad a few years ago. I'm sorry to hear of his passing. I pray that you can be strong in these days, and focus on the positive blessings he brought to you and the rest of the family.

Stewart
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
David, thank you for sharing such a lovely insight into the man your father was. I am sorry for your loss and wish you a long life.
Shalom.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
David Goldsmith, my thoughts are with you too, I enjoyeda similar experience with my dad but we did'nt get as long together as you two did. Its always hard to say good bye but with some time the memories bring only smiles not tears.
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David, sincerest condolences.

I'm glad you have such fond memories of your dad. I like to think my kids will remember skiing with me too. We've certainly had some fun.
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David a very moving tribute. my condolences (I lost my mam in September)
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just rung my daughter up to tell her that i love her Crying or Very sad very moving story
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
David Goldsmith, My thoughts are with you, a beautiful tribute.

My dad died years ago and I always wished that I had thanked him for a special thing that he once did for me, over time I have come to realise that he knew as I am sure your dad knew.
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David, My condolences to you, I am sure he was rewarded during his life seeing you enjoying the mountains.
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Condolences Sad
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what a brilliant father!

condolences david
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David, what a wonderful tribute. My thoughts are with you.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
David Goldsmith, my condolences also, he sounds like a wonderful man.
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Sorry for your loss. I lost my dad a year ago this month. Great to have the happy memories though. Unfortunately my dad never got to meet his grand-daughter, she was born this September. I realise now I'm a dad myself, just how much love a parent feels for their children.
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Adding to the condolences, David
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