His name was Karl  and he was the youngest son of Herb and Yvette .  He was born on the 10th of February and he was the boy his parents always wanted. He had two older sisters who adored him and gladly helped their mother with whatever they could.  Our families were close;  we spent a lot of time together.  Karl was five months younger than our youngest son and his big sister was the same age as our oldest son. His mom and I had worked together for many years. We both had an older child with red hair. Our families had a lot in common.

The same year Karl was born, his family moved as his father took a job promotion with a university  quite a distance from where he was born.  Our visits weren’t as frequent due to the distance, but we did continue to keep in touch  through Christmas letters, emails, and later Facebook. The years went by and our families grew, and we enjoyed life. We would continue meeting  to ski or hike as families.

One year his mom’s Christmas letter made mention that Karl had cancer but they felt the treatments had worked and he would be fine. Life continued with Karl moving to the city, his sisters married and new grandchildren began to make their way into the family. Life was good.

Two weeks ago, I got a message from a mutual friend that Karl was not doing well, he was in the Cancer hospital. They did not expect him to live. She asked if I spoke with his mother, and I replied “not since late summer”.  That night I contacted Yvette and she confirmed the worst. She felt helpless, as she couldn’t help Karl.  Both she and Herb had been living in the city since the end of September.  Although distressed, you could hear the hope in her voice; the hope that God would provide a miracle and everything would be fine.  We continued to keep in touch and pray.  Today I received word that Karl had transitioned. He was now in a beautiful place, a place where there was no more headaches, or tubes or suffering.  A place of love.

After receiving the news I took a walk with my dog, something we do every day but today was different, I needed to talk to God and shed my tears. My thoughts were with his mother and father and his sisters. I knew Karl was safe and he was being looked after. As I walked, death caught up with me and asked if it could walk with me as it knew I was upset.

I replied “of course”.

It asked “how do you know the secret of death”

I replied ” I don’t know please tell me.

It explained “you will not know the secret of death unless you seek it in the heart of life?”  It went on to explain “the owl whose night bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light. If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life. For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one” It went on further” In the depth of your hopes and desires lays your silent knowledge of the beyond; and like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring. Trust your dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity” It asked if I understood and I nodded my head.

It explained “for what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?” What is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its endless tides that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?  “Only when we drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing and when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb and only then will the earth claim your limbs, and you shall truly dance”

With that death disappeared.

I had once feared death but Karl and numerous other family members and friends  have shown me there is nothing to be afraid of; as death and life are one, just as love and pain are  one. One cannot be without the other.

So last night, just past ten o’clock, Karl reached the mountain top, and he has begun his climb.  The earth will reclaim his limbs, and then he will truly dance. As we celebrate his young life later this next week, we will also dance and rejoice for  he touched so many lives; however with our  rejoicing there will be sadness for he was a very special person, who loved life, and was always  concerned  for others . Karl you are loved beyond words.  Rest in Peace  “For life and death are one” !

Reference: Kahlil Gibran; The Prophet – Secret of death p 80 –