Monday, June 17, 2024 | Dhu al-hijjah 10, 1445 H
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Sending off a year to forget, with those I will never forget

Ray Petersen
Ray Petersen

I am usually in a good frame of mind around this time of year, after all it’s the Christmas season, ‘time to be jolly,’ ‘goodwill to all men,’ and so on, but this year it’s difficult to lift as I usually do. Lena and I have had our, ‘annus horribilis,’ in 2019, and to be honest, I just can’t wait for this awful year to finish. From losing a good friend and colleague, Steven Orr, in February, my father, Noel, in June, and my little sister Gayleen, in July, and Dad’s birthday on Christmas Day, we’ve not yet recovered our full composure.

Many of you will have similar recollections, in this or other years, and I have no wish to denigrate, devalue or belittle your own experiences, but maybe you can understand the feelings of grief, and how much it takes from ‘one’s’ personality and ability to respond positively to those around you.

Lena has been my ‘rock’ in 2019, and I know she herself has suffered too, but she has always been staunch in her support of me, and from afar in the UK, Sasha, our daughter continues to be our familial bright light, our minaret, and she too, incredibly strong and loving. Truly, both are all the family a man could need, and they are getting me back to loving those I’ve lost, and treasuring them, rather than mourning them.

Dad, in fact, inspired a pragmatic and realistic approach to life as when people asked how he was, he would say, “Every day on top of the ground is a good one!” And he did have one other standard offering that, “You’re dead for a long time Ray, so there’s no sense in being miserable is there?” So, I have to pick up my lip, get my act together, and be all that I can be, going forward.

A barbeque will certainly help during the festive New Year celebration season, and I’m pretty sure that Wilhelm, Mathys, Jarek, Sczepan, Malc and the crew can organise something ‘sizzling,’ and of course the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, so between some flame-grilled carnivorous carcass, some cheese, bread buns, all cholesterol friendly of course, a vegetable, we don’t want too many, and a lemonade

or two, I think we can see off this year in style along with our various wives and kids.

We have friends all around the globe to call this week, with Andrew and May in Saudi, Sasha and Chris in the UK, Nadia, Nastia, Vika, Gala, Solia, and Volodin, who just got married, in Kazakhstan, Kirsten and Thorstein in Germany. Dave, Rana, Deidre, Shaheen and Juliet, in the States, Kevin, Kath, Sue, Dave, Barry, Denise, Ray and his Denise and the whole Bluff family in New Zealand, and Alex, the father-in-law in Moscow. We’ll ring them and many more. Why? Because it’s what you do.

Here in Oman we will try to catch up with Assim, Joe, Sara and Ghada, at OmanSail, and the Observer staff while we are in Muscat. We must also meet our old friend Ali al Riyami and his family, and new acquaintances Ishaq al Saqri and his daughter Rawaa in Izki, who are some of the nicest people you could ever come to know, and Sandeep and Ritu from the Golden Tulip just down the road, their PA Marivec, and Aneesh.

Have I forgotten anyone? Oh yes….. Last, but not least, the health professionals, Madhura, Damodar,………………. And of course, my best mate, Dr Vishal, his wife Yesha, and daughter Anvisha. Don’t tell anyone, but Vishal might let his wife drive his Range Rover as a Christmas gift, but it will only be a ‘one time thing,’ I’m sorry Yesh, then it’s back to the little Yaris, boo hoo!

A Happy and Prosperous New Year to you all. May 2020 be the best yet!

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