Eulogy for Karin Vandenberg

Karin and Bo Vandenberg

How do you summarize the life of a friend, particularly one you have loved, lost, found and then lost permanently? I’m afraid I’m not up to the task, it would seem. There is so much to say about Karin.

I first met Karin through my son, who was studying theatre arts in secondary school. Karin was an intern teacher at Orangeville District Secondary School. We all knew immediately this young woman was one who lived life in broad, sweeping strokes, who used colour and passion in all she created. It was never in Karin’s vocabulary to do anything in half-measures, whether it was to teach, or live, or love.

Love, however, was illusive for Karin. Despite her enormous charisma, it seemed as though she would never find that soul mate, that person who was willing to simply dive blindly and blissfully into the ocean of what she had to offer.

And then came Bo. A quiet man. A bard. A man who also knew about the enormity of life and love, and when he met Karin at the Orangeville Medieval Festival in the early ’90s that was it, quest fulfilled. It was like the meeting of Tristan and Isolde, Henry and Eleanor, Anthony and Cleopatra. Yes, their love was that epic, although far more enduring, stable, encompassing.

Karin was diagnosed with leukemia. Like everything else in Karin’s life she faced it head-on, fiercely and with an optimism and determination that brooked no possibility of defeat. Defeat just simply wasn’t part of her lexicon.

And so through Facebook, those of us who loved and admired both her and Bo, followed her journey, cheered her on through every frightening, tense, trying moment until the morning of August 31, 2011, when finally, delirious, she died with the love of her life who was there to walk every painful moment with her.

There is one less star in the firmament. She has arced across the sky in a blaze of brilliance, searing our consciousness with the grandeur of her life and her love. To say she will be missed is understatement.

Karin was my fellow earth-mother, a woman of wisdom, grace, huge of heart and long on loyalty. It is inconceivable she is not among us. My spirit is broken. The house is silent. And in that silence I listen for you, Karin. Will always listen.

Viewing is scheduled for Friday, September 2nd from 2 – 4 p.m. and 7 – 9 p.m. and services are scheduled for Saturday, September 3rd at 11 a.m. at Gilbert MacIntyre and Son Funeral Home, 1099 Gordon St., Guelph. It is the location marked ‘A’ on the Google map.

Instead of flowers, donations to the Grand River Hospital Foundation would be greatly appreciated.

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