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Shock and Denial of the Death of a Dear Friend from the Writing Collection of Elizabeth Padillo Olesen, Denmark

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Elizabeth Padillo Olesen, Denmark


Shock and Denial of the Death of a Dear Friend

Right after my last lesson in school last Friday, the telephone rang. Jens, at the other end said, "Elizabeth, I have bad news for you."

Then there was silence. I could sense he was hesitant to continue.

Then I said,"What is it?"

He said, "Kamalesh died last night."

I held my phone tightly. I asked him to say more clearly. I told him I could not hear at all what he said. I said,"What are you telling me?"

He repeated, "Kamalesh died. I am in Portugal right now. Kamalesh and Lily joined with us during this holiday in Portugal and Kamalesh died last night."

I asked, "Who?"
He said, "Kamalesh!".
"Who Kamalesh?" I insisted.
"Kamalesh Biswas", he said.
"Kamalesh?" I repeated for confirmation.
Jens said, "Yes, our Kamalesh"!
I raised my voice, "No!" And I felt the tears from my eyes on my cheeks. I sobbed like a child and continued saying, "No!"

My students rallied around me. They asked, "What is it, Elizabeth, what is it?" It must be the first time in their life to see their teacher cry like a child.

I said, "A dear friend has died". My students kept silent. Some of the them tried to put their hand around my shoulders.

I tried to be strong, attempted to smile as I asked them to go out for their recess. I closed the door when everyone was gone. And I felt the freedom to cry as I tried to fill my mind with the memories of my last encounter with him, recalling his voice, jokes and laughter during our meeting that Sunday and our plans for the Christmas party and the Christmas Eve worship service,and the drive to help the flood victims in the Philippines.

I asked the Lord, why God, why a person so dear as a friend and father should die so suddenly without being able to say goodbye?

I dialled Kamalesh`s number, called him through his mobile telephone. And his voice gave the automatic answer:
" I cannot answer right now, but you are free to leave a message and I will answer you as soon as I can". His voice on the telephone automatic answer machine made him alive to my ears but I continued to cry.


Note: Kamalesh Biswas is a Indian church pastor, assigned to work for the foreigners and immigrants in the diocese in our area. He has been very instrumental in opening dialogues between people of other religious faiths. Among other things as a worker for integrating refugees, foreigners and immigrants in the country, he has been serving as a pastor in our International Church in Kolding. Kamalesh died of cardiac arrest in the night of November 5, 2009 )

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Here are the previous Messages left about this writing:
FromComment about document or authorResponse CountryResponse Added
Elizabeth Padillo OlesenThanks, Nicel for reading and appreciating this blog. Yes, it was three years ago but when I read this blog, I still experience tears in my eyes. Denmark 8/21/2012 3:29:51 AM
Nicel Mohamed-HindsI am so sorry for your loss but I must say this was well written. It beautifully depicted how death can affect someone. Great write. By the way thanks for your kind comment on my poem "Message in a Bottle".Guyana8/20/2012 8:48:17 PM
Thanks, Lord Zen, for your comment. We have different ways of reacting to the news of death of the one we cherish. Death is a part of life. 1/14/2010 1:51:44 PM
lord zendats greatnigeria1/7/2010 9:55:31 AM
Thanks, Noel, for uplifting a heart, a good package of joy to a friend. 1/3/2010 9:25:53 AM
Noel N. VillarosaI am proud of you Ms. Elizabeth, not only this one needs commendation, but the rest of your works are a masterpiece. Congratulations!!!Philippines1/3/2010 3:42:47 AM
Thanks Lee and Dr. Sudarsan, I have just seen the note that this piece has won in the November contest- non poem submission. I am delighted. This was written with all the sincerity of my heart. As I read your responses, I am also preparing myself for the Christmas Eve worship service on Thursday where I will give the sermon instead of Kamalesh. I have accepted the invitation to do so because I want to celebrate his life. 12/21/2009 1:18:12 PM
Lee EmmettCongratulations Elizabeth ... your writing is a moving and sincere tribute to the friend whose life was an inpiration to many ... Australia12/21/2009 9:02:32 AM
drsudarsan prasadVery moving piece and a magnificent piece of literature. I am in the horns of a dilemma - Liz, You certainly deserve congratulations for winning, but yet on such occasions of bereavement , silence is Golden. I can imagine what is his association meant for you, Only I can say is that he has gone to a far better place where his presence is needed. Congratulations and Merry X'mas. The show must go on!india12/21/2009 3:53:57 AM
Linda TerrellI am sorry for you loss of your dear friend Elizabeth. May God strengthen you and allow you to remember all the good memories in this time of your sorrow.USA12/20/2009 10:10:03 PM
Hema,I missed reading your response.Thanks a lot.Am I right to think that you, too, come from India? Life is very precious and yet very delicate. Let us continue to nurture and protect it and keep the consciousness that life is also very short. Take care, dear friend.I am just passing by and maybe read few poems here. 11/30/2009 12:54:00 PM
Snehasis, thanks for responding and identifying yourself in the clan of Kamalesh in India. We had the funeral service of Kamalesh this afternoon, attended by many people filling the big church of Kristkirke in Kolding. There were 15 priests, friends of Kamalesh during his work in Bangladesh,network from different churches and from other inter-cultural groups in Denmark. It was so amazing to see many people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds attending.At coffee time many stood up and shared their good memories of the man we dearly cherish.It was a good celebration of his life. You should be very proud of Kamalesh. 11/21/2009 5:25:42 PM
Snehasis PalitH I happen to be a distant brother of Kamalesh, although we has been in touch seldom, but managed to speak to each other over phone. I had been out of the country for few years now, but remember the hospitality of Kamlesh and Lily when I visited them in John church, kolkata india. I am shocked and saddened by the news, but sincerely pray for my brother bacchuda we fondly used to call him during my childhood. My family mother, father and brother all pray for his soul and for his family in this time of grief.My love for Dan and Mark your father was also an inspiration for me when i grew up. May God bless you both abundantly.India11/21/2009 8:53:34 AM
Hema, thanks for your words of comfort. The funeral of this dear friend is on Saturday. I continue to reflect what it is in losing someone we hold dearly that enables us to trace memories with delight and yet feel the deep vacuum or sorrow in the consciousness of real absence.Have a good week-end. 11/19/2009 6:28:13 AM
Hema RaviMy heart felt condolences to your dear friend and his family....strange are the ways and circumstances under which people die!India11/18/2009 10:06:09 AM
Khadera, thanks for your comforting words. We are still waiting for his dead body and until then we cannot plan for the funeral. I`ve been asked to sing for his funeral service. Kamalesh used to ask me to sing for the worship service. I hope I can sing for his last departure day. Yes, we all have to chance to come into this world and go. Take care and thanks for your friendship. 11/13/2009 6:27:14 AM
khaderaI can understand ur heavy heart please have patience dear Elizabeth I am sorry for your dear freind's demise, May God keeps his soul in peace and paradise . This is life one has to depart from this stage of temporary world. India 11/12/2009 11:06:04 AM
I can understand ur heavy heart please have patience dear Elizabeth I am sorry for your dear freind's demise, May God keeps his soul in peace and paradise . This is life one has to depart from this stage of temporary world. 11/11/2009 9:49:32 PM
Thanks, Gail. What a consoling instrument the Christian faith is! 11/10/2009 7:52:54 AM
Gail KayI can only send my condolences Elizabeth at the loss of your dear friend. Sudden death is always so terribly hard to come to terms with. Your consolation is knowing that the Lord he served so faithfully in life was there waiting for him with open arms when He called him home.Australia11/10/2009 1:44:33 AM
Thanks,Nancy, for your comforting words. I have just spoken to his wife. While others suggested that we abort the programs we have planned because of his passing away, Lily, the wife, said that in the spirit of Kamalesh, we need to continue this plan of activities. In so doing, we celebrate his life. We will do so. We are still waiting for his body to be transported from Portugal to Denmark. I did not realize that it would take some days or perhaps a week or more. From non-acceptance one can move into that level of acceptance that indeed life is very precious and yet very fragile. 11/9/2009 2:24:52 PM
Nancy CrosslandElizabeth, I am saddened to hear of the passing of your dear friend. My our Lord comfort you and his family and loved ones during this difficult time. He must be in a very special place now. USA11/9/2009 3:58:10 AM

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