Saturday, 26 October 2013

Goodbye Dimitri


Yesterday, 25 October, was a sad day. Our friend Dimitris Kassandrinos, head teacher of the secondary school in Tilos, left the island for the last time. 

Sometime in the afternoon of 24 October, he was in his car going up to the monastery of Ayios Panteleimonas with a German woman called Uta, who had recently become his girlfriend, when the car went over the side of a steep cliff, and both were killed. The authorities are investigating how it happened. He was noticed missing yesterday morning, and a local who keeps goats up that road saw something. A rescue team came in by helicopter and during the afternoon the two bodies were recovered from the deep ravine. 

Dimitris, originally from Volos, was around 50 years old and had lived in Tilos 11 years; he was a chemistry and biology teacher and in recent years was head teacher of the secondary school. He told me he wished I'd used his real name in my book. He visited his family in the area around Volos during school holidays and his mother came to stay during the winter.


When in Tilos, throughout the year, Dimitris spent most afternoons in the sea, fishing for octopus. When I first came to Tilos, he took me out snorkelling and introduced me to the hidden beaches and underwater life of the island, and drove me up to the monastery to see the sunset over the sea, a view he loved. Who knows, perhaps it was his last. Someone who had spoken to Uta said they were happy together.

Yesterday, as the sun went down, they were being taken down to Livadia. In the evening, under a sky full of bright stars, the Milky Way clearly visible, a boat came to take them away.

Today, 26 October, he would have been celebrating his name-day. It being a Saturday, he would undoubtedly have been out in the sea somewhere. I walked up the monastery road to see where it happened - a beautiful place - and then down to Plaka, to the little bay on the promontory. I'd brought my snorkel with me. I saw anemones with their wavy orange hair, a small eel's ribbon-body curling around a rock, and even a beautiful fikopsaro with a tail so fine and silver it looked like a needle. And all the sea creatures he showed me how to find...

Kalo taxidi


21 comments:

  1. Such a tragedy... So he was your Manolis. I am so sorry for your loss, Jennifer!

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  2. Gosh Jen: I am so sorry. What a beautiful Farewell tribute you have written. I have tears in my eyes. Courage. Caro

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  3. Jennifer, Sorry for the loss of your dear friend. Seems he met you when you snorkeled to let you know he's still with you in spirit. Bless him! Bless you as you remember him and all his brilliance.
    Susan Joyce

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    1. Thank you so much, Susan. That's what I thought too. x

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  4. When I read of this in the press I wondered if it was your dear friend who had lost his life. I had only just (3 weeks ago) read Falling in honey while on holiday on Rhodes. I feel so very sad for you at this time.
    Vicki Brown

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  5. Quite emotional. Thanks for eulogizing him for those who never met him; life is short and passes in a flash. You never think, in paradise, that something like this could happen. Kind of you to make the effort to his memory.

    John

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  6. Jennifer, I read of Dimitris in one of your 2011 posts. What a sad thing, to go so young and so full of life. I'm sure he was at the sea with you while you snorkelled. I'm sorry for your loss of a good Greek friend.

    Wanda St.Hilaire
    www.lifebyheart.wandasthilaire.com

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  7. Thanks to everyone for your heartfelt comments.
    A reminder to us all to life life to the full, always...
    Warm wishes from Tilos
    Jennifer

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  8. A fitting tribute to a good man - such a sad thing to happen - goodbye Dimitris

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  9. Oh Jennifer, my heart goes out to you. He is gone but not forgotten. He lives on in all the beautiful sea creatures of Tilos he so loved. Immortalised in your wonderful "Falling in honey". God bless you Dimitris, swim free.

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  10. Bless you Jennifer, just finished reading "Falling in Honey" last night and really sad to hear of yours and the islands loss of such a wonderful person. I'm sure he will be with you in spirit every time you swim. A sad day - I'm sure he will be remembered with great fondness and much love by all. Thoughts are with you - be strong and remember 'Life is life'.

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  11. Kalo taxidi Dimitri, we will miss you and your kindest soul

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  12. sorry for the loss of your dear friend, spoke to you briefly on the beach as you walked your dog at eristos, I have since read your book, laughed out loud lots,not many books make me do that. take care

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    1. Thank you so much. Happy to hear that the book made you laugh!

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  14. I am a good friend of Uta living in Frankfurt. Writing an obituary on her I came across your blog. Of course I feel very sad, but was happy to read who her tragic death had happened.

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    1. How good to hear from a friend of Uta. Few of us here knew much about her. I'm so sorry that you lost a good friend. Do send me a private message using the contact form if you would like to ask anything. Warm wishes to you in Frankfurt. I'd love to read what you write about Uta - I don't read German but I could find a way to translate it.

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  15. I'm just catching up on reading past blog entries and found this wonderful tribute to your friend. He sounds like someone any one of us would have been proud to call a friend.

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