Thomas Winding, you will be missed

Not so long ago, Danish author Thomas Winding died, 71 years old.

Thomas was famous for writing a lot of books for children, but even more for reading his stories aloud on the radio. He had a deep, calm voice that was known and loved by all Danish children when I was a child.

The death of Thomas Winding seems to have led to a feeling of "mass nostalgia" in my generation. A Facebook group has been created, and the media has written a lot about how everyone will sorely miss the "soundtrack of their childhood".

This made me think. I'm 33 years old now, and I don't think I have heard the voice of Thomas Winding for almost a decade.

Still, his death is kind of a painful event for me. Of course, I will not miss him as such, but he was a very happy memory of my childhood. So losing him is yet another reminder that I am no longer, and will never again be, a happy and carefree child.

It seems bizarre to feel so sad about the death of a person I didn't even know, and haven't thought about for years. But luckily, I'm not alone, and there is a word for this feeling: Nostalgia.

Feeling nostalgic

According to Wikipedia, the word Nostalgia is of greek origin and refers to "the pain a sick person feels because he wishes to return to his native land".

I think this is a beautiful way to describe a feeling that everybody knows, but which is hard to define. The description is absolute nonsense, I know, but so is the feeling itself.

In fact, I find it highly irrational, especially from an evolutionary standpoint. I mean, what is the purpose of an individual wanting to "return to his home land"? On the surface, it seems regressive and foolish.

However, it is hard to believe that any counterproductive sentiment would have been allowed to survive for countless generations to still be present in the human beings of today. There must be some rational purpose to this feeling, but it eludes me.

If anyone out there knows, please drop me a line.

My father

So, having questioned the rationality of feeling nostalic, I want to convince everyone that I am not a robot.

Three years ago, my siblings and I lost our father. He died of cancer, only 55 years old. Needless to say, this was a terrible time for our family. After three years, it is still hard.

But life moves on, and this is how it should be.

However, life paused for a brief moment when I found this picture on my harddisk.

My father was a man of habit. Every day, he would take his dog for a long walk in the forest. Same route every day. Same sticks that had to be thrown into the water at the same spots on the route along the lake, year after year. He once calculated that he had walked more than a thousand miles on this trail, which is only a few miles long.

Our dog, Luna, was a very loving animal, and she absolutely adored my father. She was half Collie, so the herding instinct was very visible in her behavior. I think this is part of the reason that we loved her so much. She always wanted to keep the family together.

The above picture was taken by me. Luna is clearly worried that I have become separated from the leader of the flock, so she looks ahead to assess the risk.

For me, looking at this 5 year old picture simply defines nostalgia. It forces me to forget the present and focus on the past for a while. Never again will I join my father and Luna for that walk, and my home town seems so far away now.