A Lost Wabbit – RIP Kale

Monday night, I got home from work, I was sitting on the couch, watching TV, with my computer on my lap. I was letting go of all of the stresses of my day while scanning through my Facebook news feed, like I do daily. That’s when something caught my eye, and not in a good way.

In 2004-2005, I was a Don at Brock University. I was responsible for overseeing a court of 75 students. I was the Don of the Wetherald Wabbits and I honestly believe I had the best court that year. While I had some wascaly wabbits, I had a lot of amazing people in my court. My students often made me feel like a proud momma, though being the same age or younger than a number of my students.

So on Monday October 17th, when I saw this, my heart sank:

Mark Foster: The world lost a great man. Kale Garner was a guy I will never forget. RIP in the big bunk bed in the sky.”

I read that and all I could say was “What? Oh my God”.

Mark and Kale were two of my students from when I was a Don. They were my 813D boys. My 813 house was probably my favourite house from top to bottom. There wasn’t one guy in that house that I didn’t like and think highly of. 813 A was Adam, B was Rob, C was Steve and D was Mark and Kale.

Mark told me that Kale had died running a Marathon in Toronto the previous day. I found this article, a vague, general article that would have been sad to read flipping through a paper, but was heartbreaking reading knowing that it was someone I knew. It didn’t make sense to me at all. It had been over six years since I met Kale and he was one of my students, but the way I remembered him didn’t computer with what had happened. Kale was an athletic guy. I remembered that he loved Hockey and Golf and that he’d played hockey for years. He was an extremely active and healthy guy. I think I remember catching him on the way to the gym a number of times that year he was in my court. I just didn’t get it. Another story running with this one was that an 100-year-old man had finished the race. It made no sense to me, how could a 100-year-old man complete this race and a healthy 27-year-old drop dead? It happened though.

I only knew Kale for a year and the news had me in tears, I can only imagine how much this hurt his family and his life long friends.

As I’ve said, I only knew Kale for year. We were for a while Facebook friends though and I always tried to wish him a Happy Birthday, because it was easy to remember, it was the same day as my sister’s.

Thinking of birthdays and Kale made me laugh because I remember the year that I was his Don. I was only 20 when I was a Don and I didn’t really share that with my students, because I knew that most of them were my age. I had fast tracked, they had taken a year off and I knew, that if I wanted them to listen to me, having a number of them know that I was younger than them wouldn’t help me.

One night though, I was outside and I was talking to my 813 boys, Kale included and our ages came up, they all assumed that I was in my mid-twenties and I looked at them and said you would be surprised. Kale looked at me skeptical and said how old are you? I knew when all of my students birthday’s were so I looked at him and I said, actually, I am 6 months younger than you are. He was shocked, he never would have guessed that.

Kale was an amazing guy. He wasn’t one of my more visible students, but he was one that I really truly liked and could see be friends with. Kale was charismatic. I don’t think I remember a time when he wasn’t smiling or laughing. His smile was infectious and his sense of humour was amazing. He was also incredibly smart and studious. Kale was also a very good-looking guy, but he was humble, charming, kind and considerate. He is one of my students, who I will always remember. I will remember his name, his smile and his personality, he is not someone that could be forgotten

I had the hardest day of my life that year that I was a don. My grandpa lost his battle with Cancer on October 16th 2004. I was extremely close with him and this news brought my world crashing down around me. I remember that night, knowing I wouldn’t be able to sleep I was out in my court talking to my students and like a number of nights some of those students were my 813 boys. They told me they were sorry and that they were there if I needed help. It is something they probably wouldn’t remember, but I do.

It is hard to think that Oct 16th was the hardest day for me 7 years ago and Oct 16th from this year is probably going to be one of the hardest days for people who loved Kale.

My heart goes out to his family and his long time friends. I only knew Kale for one year and I know how sad this news made me, I can only imagine the sadness others must be feeling. My deepest sympathy to his family and friends. I hope that you remember all of the amazing memories that you have of him and that those memories help you through this difficult time.

27 is far too early to lose someone, especially someone with as much promise as Kale.

If you didn’t know Kale, but would like to know a bit more about him read one of the two following articles that I found tonight.

Garner’s smile brightened room

Kale Garner had everything going for him when he died running a half-marathon

Also his Obituary:

Garner, Kale David – Passed away unexpectedly on Sunday October 16, 2011 at the age of 27. Loving son of David and the late Celine Garner (nee Latulippe). Beloved brother of Jill and Jodi Garner. Kale will be remembered for his smile, loving nature and always finding the humour in life. Kale attended Brock University, achieving his BA in Political Science, later completing his education at George Brown College in Financial Planning. He was in the process of becoming a Certified Financial Planner. Kale leaves behind many friends and colleagues from Cardinal Golf Course and most recently Assante Financial Management. As an avid hockey fan, he played for several years as an East Gwillimbury Eagle and later continued playing pick-up games with his friends. Kale’s stories and memories will remain in the hearts of those that loved him as he will be remembered as a great friend, son and brother. Friends may call at the Roadhouse & Rose Funeral Home on Wednesday October 19th from 7-9 p.m. and Thursday October 20th from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. Funeral service at the Cedarview Community Church, 1000 Gorham St., Newmarket on Friday October 21st at 11 a.m. followed by cremation. In lieu of flowers donations on his behalf may be made to the Heart & Stroke Foundation.

If you feel moved by anything that I wrote, or those articles please think about donating to the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation.

A couple of pictures that I had from when Kale was one of my wabbits: