My best friend passed away

ketil portrettKetil är død.
This was the message I received on phone yesterday, September 21st.
Ketil is dead.
The caller was my old CISV-friend from Sweden, Kimmy Lindholm. She told me that Ketil had passed away during the gathering for old CISV-friends in Sardinia.
The message was completely impossible to grasp. For some time I thought there had to be a misunderstanding. Ketil Lehland, my close friend from mid fifties was one of the most alive persons I knew. I had dined with him a week earlier and he had commented on my FB-page a couple of days earlier. How could he be gone?
It just could not be true.
He was always an important part of my life.
Now I know I shall live on without him. His voice is still ringing in my ears. We met all the time, often to share a meal downtown Oslo. He would call me asking if we should have a pizza together, also inviting our two other pizza friends, Arne Berge and Knut Haaland. Both CISVers. And you know what? Every time we met like this he brought a small gift. It could be a rare bottle of Coca-Cola he had picked up on his latest trip, or a small wine carton from Italy like he did the last time.

Every summer we would go together to watch the Bislet Games in Athletics. That is, if he was at home. The recent couple of years he was traveling abroad much of the time. To visit places he had not been before, or to visit old CISV-friends or to watch a football match in England with his son, Benjamin. Sometimes we would grab a meal in town just after he had returned from a trip, and a few days before he left on another excursion.
Every summer Ketil and I would visit the CISV villages around Oslo. Two of the oldest CISVers, Ketil from 1954, myself from 1951, enjoyed to experience the atmosphere of a childrens village once again. I am not sure I will do this without Ketil.
It was Ketil and I who started to organize the Easter meetings at Krekke seter. For many years, thirty young CISVers would gather in some old cabins in the Norwegian mountains to go skiing together and just having a nice time. The people who came to Krekke still meet every summer. His stay in Sardinia was a Krekke meeting, as we like to call it.
I could write on and on about this fantastic person. He had so much to contribute every time we met. He had stories to tell, often from all the places he went.
Now Ketil has made his last trip. 
And I shall miss him so much.



8 Comments on “My best friend passed away

  1. Raymond:

    Your message was sad but powerful. Although my first CISV experience was not until 1972, I grew familiar with his name and met him at the IBM in 1979. His name has not been forgotten. As you might know, last week I finished my term as President of CISV International. I was at the office in Newcastle last week and first heard the news of his death while there. The many voices from CISV’s early years are so important to me (and to others). I hope that – as we work to re-connect with our many alumni – we can continue to remember the committment and work of those such as yourself and Ketil.

    With sympathy,

    Brett Vottero

  2. Tragisk og trist å få denne nyheten om min navnebror Ketil av Raymond i går.
    Også jeg har kjent Ketil gjennom Raymond i rundt 55 år og blant de første minnene er fra den tiden han kom på besøk til oss på Kalbakken på sin vespa 125 for å se på Hylands Hørna på lørdagskveldene.
    Dette fordi vi på Grorud fikk inn svenskt tv, noe de på Lysaker ikke gjorde.
    Husker også da han kom med morens flotte Citroen DS rundt 58? med det helt spesielle fjæringsystemet og vi fikk en demonstrasjon av det på de den gang uasfalterte veiene ved skolen.
    Mange historier om Ketil har jeg hørt og trøsten for kanskje være at han har levd et svært rikt liv som de fleste nok ikke er i nærheten av.
    Ketil W.

  3. Such a fine porttrait of Ketil, I am glad you published it in your blog. On second thought, your portrait in words is equally fine! I shall miss Ketil very much, having known him for 50 years. He is a truly unique person. (I still do not want to wriite “he was”)

  4. Raymond,
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts in usch a beautiful way.
    We really miss you here in Sardinia. Ketil died among friends, But you, his best friend, was not here. When he told us that he was going to move into town, he also told us that it was only 10 minutes away from were you live. He was looking forward to you two seeing each other even more often in the future.
    I’m so sad and I miss him so much. There are so many tings that I still wanted to discuss with him. Annika

  5. Well said, old friend. Ketil was a unique person for sure. I too had Facebook correspondence with him literally up to the day before he died. We were talking about you, of course :-). I will miss him, but I can only imagine the hole he has left in your life. Hang in there. Dallas

  6. Det var forferdelig trist å høre, Raymond. Jeg kjente han for mange år siden fra Universitetet og andre sammenhenger men har ikke sett han på veldig lenge. Han var et flott menneske. Du har skrevet veldig fint om han. Åse

  7. Raymond: It is through tears that I respond. Even though I never met Ketil, I feel that I’ve known him for decades, through you. Now I shall miss him too, but know that his spirit lives on, through you… and so many others. Your beautiful portrait has captured so much more than his face. Thank you for sharing your heart in this beautiful tribute to ketil. A life well lived must be celebrated! Linda

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