Ketil 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.