To say I’m horrified and “rocked off my moorings” by the violence at the Boston Marathon this afternoon is an understatement. I’m stuck on Why?  When I think of the victims I weep …  no more words…


along the Camino in Northern Spain

When I walked along the Camino I was pleasantly surprised to learn that many men and women who walked the entire 750 km French Way to Santiago de Compostela were older than me, and many were walking in spite of a severe illness like cancer.

In my first post about the Camino I told you about Kurt,  a teacher from Germany.

Kurt began his pilgrimage alone, but ended up walking with Wolfgang and Christiane who are both also from Germany. That’s how friendships are formed on the Camino: you meet someone on the road, and you’re instantly friends, life-long friends.

Wolfgang walked with his friend Kurt and this woman

Kurt (on the right) walked with Wolfgang (on the left) and Christiane

I’m not used to carrying a heavy weight and after several days of walking with my backpack I developed painful “rocks” on my back. Kurt was the good Samaritan who gave me massages along the way.

“A massage for Rosie,” he’d say…

I haven’t told you about his friend Wolfgang who’s one of the shining lights I met on the Camino: always happy and so kind.

Kurt and I are both expert yakkers, but though Wolfgang could also speak English, he didn’t talk much, preferring to listen, than to yak.

I walked with Kurt and Wolfgang several times, but I couldn’t keep up with their fast pace, and they reached Santiago several days ahead of our group.

In the photo of Wolfgang (below) taken at the end of the pilgrimage in the tee-shirt Kurt and Christiane bought him, he looks suntanned, fit and healthy.


Wolfgang in his Camino tee-shirt: “You’ll never walk alone” (photo credit Kurt)

Actually Wolfgang was a very sick man.

He set out alone on his pilgrimage after his doctor gave him six months to live.

The friendship and love from Kurt and Christiane, plus the fresh air and sun, and something about the magic of the Camino gave him a vitality and vigor so he was able to walk the entire 750 km route, and as you can see, he looked wonderful at the end.

I heard from Kurt in February: Wolfgang was really ill, and he and Christiane went to visit their sick friend.

“It was a really good decision to see him. He’s very brave. Though in a lot of pain he was very happy to see us and looked at us with grateful eyes…”

Wolfgang invited them back in the Spring for a barbecue, but Kurt’s not sure if there’s enough time in this life for him.

Keep him in your thoughts and prayers.

the three friends

the three friends

As this is National Poetry Month, I end with a poem

Be a friend – by Edgar Guest

Be a friend. You don’t need money:
Just a disposition sunny;
Just the wish to help another
Get along some way or other;
Just a kindly hand extended
Out to one who’s unbefriended;
Just the will to give or lend,
This will make you someone’s friend.

Be a friend. You don’t need glory.
Friendship is a simple story.
Pass by trifling errors blindly,
Gaze on honest effort kindly,
Cheer the youth who’s bravely trying,
Pity him who’s sadly sighing;
Just a little labor spend
On the duties of a friend.

Be a friend. The pay is bigger
(Though not written by a figure)
Than is earned by people clever
In what’s merely self-endeavor.
You’Il have friends instead of neighbors
For the profits of your labors;
You’Il be richer in the end
Than a prince, if you’re a friend.

Edgar Albert Guest an English-born American poet (Born 1881, Birmingham, died 1959, Detroit) wrote more than 15,000 sentimental and optimistic verses – one a day from 1916 to 1959 – earning him the title the People’s Poet. 

  He began writing verse for the Free Press in 1904 under the heading “Chaff.”  His columns evolved into a daily feature,”Breakfast Table Chat,” syndicated in about three hundred newspapers.

Dorothy Parker said of his poetry:

I’d rather flunk my Wasserman test*
Than read the poetry of Edgar Guest.”

[* Wasserman test is an antibody test for syphilis]



About dearrosie

We think we need so much, when all we really need is time to breathe. Come walk with me, put one foot in front of the other, and get to know yourself. Please click the link to my blog - below - and leave me a comment. I love visitors.
This entry was posted in Poetry, Tutto va bene and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

46 Responses to Friends

  1. Sartenada says:

    I read Your post in tears. Sorry that not to say more, but maybe it is enough.

  2. Beautiful post. Wolfgang is an inspiration. I can’t think of a better way to reach the end. I hope we are all so lucky.

    • dearrosie says:

      Thanks Tara. I don’t know whether Wolfgang realizes what an inspiration he was to all of us. He was just doing what he needed to do … and was so brave to walk the whole route alone.

      • And that’s the best part – sometimes, the things we need to do or that seem like the logical and normal next steps for a person can be so meaningful to others. Inspiring without meaning to.

        Brave man, and very genuine looking in the photos.

  3. Debra Kolkka says:

    The tragedy in Boston would not happen if we were all friends.

    • dearrosie says:

      Exactly Debra. We’re all living on the same one earth… and it wasn’t just Americans running the marathon. The flags were from dozens of countries.

  4. sandypics says:

    my prayers go out to the people of boston and wolfgang…i am so inspired by wolfgang’s story..thank you for sharing rosie…

  5. dadirri7 says:

    a heart warming story about friendship and courage .. blessings to wolfgang, and peace to those touched by tragedy … thanks rosie 🙂 i can imagine how rich that walk must be when you can meet fellow travelers like these three 🙂

    • dearrosie says:

      Thanks for reading my post – I know it was too long but I had to say something about Boston at the beginning and add the poem about friends at the end.
      One of the things I hadn’t expected when I walked the Camino is how you make friends so easily and there’s no judging – no one is rich or poor – we’re all walking with a few possessions on our backs and sleeping in bunkbeds in large dormitories.

  6. restlessjo says:

    We none of us know what’s coming, Rosie. Isn’t it a mercy?
    There is no understanding the violence that attacks our world.

    • dearrosie says:

      I was just about to post this story about Wolfgang when I heard about the violence in Boston, and had to add something about it, so my apologies for writing such a long post. Thank you for reading it Jo.
      I’m horrified and heartbroken to think that people walking down these streets would plan such an “attack” on innocent bystanders.

  7. aFrankAngle says:

    This post captured the bookend emotions that good friendships bring: joys and tears. Many blessings to all.

    • dearrosie says:

      Thanks for commenting Frank. I know it was a long post but I had to end with the friends poem. I cannot imagine what kind of person would think up this horrific act. I’m still heartbroken to think its someone walking our streets.

  8. A kinder, gentler world. Is that too much to ask? I think you found that here. Prayers for your friend, Wolfgang.

    • dearrosie says:

      I’d like to live in a kinder gentler world Georgette. Sincere thanks for thinking I’ve found it here.

      I’ve been told that healing thoughts and prayers coming from many people at the same time are very powerful. I’m sure Wolfgang must be feeling it.

  9. My two sisters were at the marathon (in Wellesley, watching) and my niece and goddaughter were at the finish line until 2:30 — 15 minutes before the bombs went off — so to say that this story hit home is an understatement. This is our world now… filled with violence and hatred. But your post about Wolfgang shows another option that we can focus on .. what a beautiful face he has! … and maybe by doing whatever we can to promote healing and love (and walking!) we can make a small difference. I’m so proud of you for doing that walk, Rosie!!

    • dearrosie says:

      Your sisters missed the explosion by 15 minutes…? OMG that’s really close Betty.

      I don’t believe we have to accept that we live in a world filled with violence and hatred. I cannot accept that and I cannot live like that.

      I was so sorry to learn that Wolfgang was in a lot of pain and I hope our healing thoughts and prayers are helping ease his pain.

  10. Marianne says:

    I loved reading about your walk on the Camino, where you met up with your friends, Rosie. What a brave man Wolfgang is.

    • dearrosie says:

      Thank you for taking the time to leave me a comment Marianne. It feels good to know that you enjoyed reading about my pilgrimage. Wolfgang is a very brave man.

  11. I am saddened and shock of what happened in Boston as well. My thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families. This is a time when we all as one community should be vigilant and fight to achieve peace. The world learned something priceless from your post today when you wrote, “That’s how friendships are formed on the Camino: you meet someone on the road, and you’re instantly friends, life-long friends.” The world needs a lot of love and healing. Thanks.

    • dearrosie says:

      Though I only know you from your blog and I don’t even know your real name I know your kind heart, and when I think of you at your hospital I know you spread much love and peace to all the people who come in those doors. That’s all we can do, one person at a time. I’m glad to have this opportunity to thank you Island Traveler.

  12. nrhatch says:

    Life is filled with pools of sorrow.

  13. It’s so hard to make sense of terrorism, so difficult to figure out how some individuals or groups of people could be so mentally ill, or so duped by their fundamentalist belief systems, that they can tell themselves it is all right to commit such heinous and cruel acts. But for every horror story there are dozens more inspiring stories, like Kurt’s, that restore our faith in human nature. Perhaps Kurt’s story will never make the national news, but the world is full of unsung heroes living fully in spite of chronic or terminal illnesses, quietly triumphing over poverty and social injustices. Thank you for sharing some more of Kurt’s story with us, Rosie. It fills us with hope when recent days have seemed so very dark.

    • dearrosie says:

      Well we know the story of who did it, but we still don’t know what inspired those two brothers to blow up innocent people at a marathon…

      I don’t understand why so many people are so angry, and why they’d take their anger out on innocent civilians.

      Even if Wolfgang’s story doesn’t make the national news I will always carry his good heart and courage with me.

  14. munchow says:

    A wonderful post and a beautiful tribute to humanness – and Wolfgang. I send prayers for him. El Camino seems to be a place – or more correct a path – of peace and solace. A place which also seems to have a huge impact on those who do the pilgrimage.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hello Otto,
      I feel strongly that Wolfgang is feeling all the love and prayers we’re all sending him. I hope it helps him.

      The Camino is just as you described it “a path of peace and solace” and from my personal experience it seems as if its going to have a lasting impact on me.

  15. Life&Ink says:

    I am so glad I read this post. What a wonderful story and a beautiful tribute. Friend. What a special word. 🙂

    • dearrosie says:

      So glad to welcome you here Life and Ink. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment and let me know you enjoyed reading my tribute to Wolfgang.
      “Friend” is a special word.

  16. shoreacres says:

    We have some answers now, and even more questions. With one bomber dead and the other on the run – one who just became a citizen of this country! – it becomes even harder to figure out motivations. My own guess is that resentments left over from their life in Chechnya, and the models of the terrible Chechen terrorists have played a role. Of course, that’s only speculation, and that’s all we’ll have until this is played out.

    In the meantime, we live our lives. That’s what your friend Wolfgang is doing – living his life until It’s end. It’s that simple, and that complex.

    • dearrosie says:

      Thank god we have some answers now. I’m so impressed how quickly the police were able to capture the brothers.

      Instead of spending his last months at home feeling sorry for himself Wolfgang went out and inspired everyone he met.

  17. Madhu says:

    A loving and poignant tribute Rosie. Thank you for sharing your experience on the Camino. My thoughts are with Wolfgang.

  18. Earth Ocean Sky Redux says:

    Wolfgang’s story is the perfect antidote to a world gone mad. What a wonderful and inspiring story.

    • dearrosie says:

      Thankfully we have some answers now. I’m still waiting for the remaining brother to explain WHY.
      Instead of spending his last months at home feeling sorry for himself Wolfgang went out and inspired everyone he met. I’m glad I could share his story. Thanks for your comment EOS

  19. sybil says:

    I think “shoreacres” summed up what I wanted to say … “in the meantime, we live our lives” …Blessings to Wolfgang and healing for the survivors in Boston with wounds that are internal AND external …

    • dearrosie says:

      Linda – at Shoreacres – always manages to express what I’ve struggled to say. I hope our love and prayers help Wolfgang and the people in Boston. The survivors in Boston haven’t just lost limbs – they are carrying deep internal wounds

  20. It’s so amazing that Wolfgang did the pilgrimage despite being so ill. How amazing, and how wonderful that you had the pleasure to know him. I’m sure the Camino was a life-changing experience. Have you heard about Wolfgang now? He really looks so healthy in your picture.

  21. Kurt says:

    dear friends
    today i have to tell you my friend Wolfgang has reached his “fin de camino”
    he died in the arms of his wife Bärbel…
    thank you for all your good wishes and your prayers for him.

    • dearrosie says:

      It’s comforting to know Wolfgang didn’t die alone. Please pass on my condolence to his wife Bärbel.

      Rest in Peace dear Wolfgang. It was an honor to meet you.

  22. Pingback: Santiago de Compostela in Southern California | Wondering Rose

I'd be delighted if you left me a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s