Roland Dürre
Saturday February 18th, 2017

Farewell to a Good Friend.

Eulogy for Werner Lorbeer.

On April, 25th, 2016, my friend Werner Lorbeer died. Unfortunately, I only heard about his death after he was buried on May, 2nd, which means I was not there. It still hurts. I will never forget Werner.

For almost one year, I have now tried to find the right words to say good-bye to Werner in my IF Blog. I could not find them. My memory of Werner is still as fresh as on the first day.

Over the last few years before his death, Werner, Josef and I met every few months in Munich. We talked about “God and the World”. But in particular, we talked about the future. And about what we could do to make the future better. We were no longer very young, but still full of plans and ideas. These meetings were always beautiful occasions with a strong feeling of togetherness.

Werner (in the middle) with me and Josef drinking our Frühschoppen at the Weißbräu im Tal (2012) – the picture was taken by a nice waitress.

Werner was a person who enjoyed life. He also took a lot of responsibility. He was sick for many years, but fought his illness and was active for many good causes.

And he also regularly wrote IF Blog articles. For me, this was truly a lucky strike. If you wish to read all his articles, click here.

Like me, Werner Lorbeer had attended the Jakob Fugger Grammar School. Soon after I started there in 1960, I registered for the school chess team and met him there. He was a little older than I and one level above me both at school and in chess for eight years.

Even in grammar school, he played an important role and soon became “students’ representative”. He was equally respected by teachers and students and supported by all. Later on, we – together with other friends – did quite a few things in the school magazine “Brücke”.

In those days – and that never changed – he struck me as a truly nice person. He was a shining figure who, in a very special way, always acted exemplarily and in a surprisingly wise manner. He always lived his values, which were always very close to mine, with consistency. In short: he was an enormously wise person full of empathy and he had tremendous charisma.

I witnessed how he always respected and appreciated other people in an exemplary manner. For me, he was a quiet haven who always was sympathetic towards our mistakes. That is something that stood in total contrast to me: I always saw myself as a hothead who made many mistakes.

Werner helped me to overcome the desperation I was often consumed by when I was young. I believe he was also my friend. My relationship with him was definitely full of friendship, love and warmth. I have reason to believe that these feelings were reciprocated, which makes me very happy.

Consequently, I would now like to formulate a few ideas about Werner and our friendship. Because I do not really know how to define friendship and love. Once in a while, I think I feel it, but I really cannot understand it. Just like I also do not know what really is the “meaning of life”.

During our youth, Werner and I often had discussions about this and similar questions. I always felt that Werner had understood all the questions that seemed to bring me to desperation. For me, his help was essential.

A friend of mine once wrote:
In my definition, friendship is something one human being on this planet cannot have room to experience with twenty-thousand people (in the intensity I would demand) on this planet with all its biological restrictions (sleep, day-night, bio-rhythm, winter, summer, mental capacity,…). Not even for one thousand.

As I see it, this is a nice metaphor for friendship. I, too, believe you cannot have zillions of friends in one life. And that friendship is a rarity. But that is not really an answer, either, is it? Love is probably something other than friendship? Perhaps there is a close connection between the two?

Metaphors such as “being prepared to die for someone”, too, make me rather sceptical. Also “similar souls” or “a lot of sympathy and a high degree of similarity when it comes to values, expectations, interests and needs” does not really help. “Blind understanding over time and space” also seems nothing more but a nice metaphor. Rupert Lay, from whom – similar to Werner – I learned many important things, once said:

Tolerance is if you accept that someone else is different from you. Love, however, is if “you want the other person to be different from you”.

I find that metaphor great. I think it is also true for friendship. For me, following it means that Werner was a true friend, because I not only accepted but wanted his “being different from me” both for him and for me.

🙂 So I continue looking for the meaning of friendship and love and still do not know what it really is. The philosophers are not really much help, either. 🙂

And I am and remain sad about my friend Werner having left us.

Here are two small articles about Werner’s life from the Augsburger Allgemeine and a  report  by “Pro Augsburg“ written after his death. He was always very intense and successful when It came to the well-being of our home-town. And he achieved quite a few things the Augsburg people are happy about today.

(Translated by EG)

For many years, Werner’s illness had not longer been a secret to me. When I heard about it, I was very depressed and described my feelings it in the IF Blog in a very personal post.

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