In Memory of Gunhild 1978 – 2017

I shot these with my first digital camera back in the summer of 1999. They’re all I have left now. These and a handful of faded memories.

In Memory of Gunhild 1978 – 2017

Dear Gunhild, I’ll pretend that I’m writing this for you and that you can read it, but to be honest it’s more for my own sake. A way to deal with it I guess:
I’ll head over to the park one evening, leave some flowers and light some candles for you over by the Buddha statues where we used to BMX and skateboard back in those punk years. News can still travel slowly in this digital age, but even when they do, they can still hit you hard and this was a surprisingly hard blow. Especially considering the fact that we’d lost contact through the years.
You got married, moved to another place and had another kid, while I traveled around, got married, had a kid and got divorced. Life happened. It fucked us all like it always does, but it also made sure to throw in some soap bubbles of joy here and there. They burst easily, don’t they?

I’m terribly sorry that I didn’t go to your memorial – I didn’t know about it, that’s why. I found out about it 5 months later. In some ways it doesn’t really matter that much, because it’s just a ceremony to say good-bye. Your husband, family and friends spread your ashes up on a mountain and I thought about going there, but since we were never there together, I prefer to say my good bye’s alone in “our” park.

Do you remember that Christmas eve at your brother’s place at Majorstua? I sat home alone, called you, asked what you were doing, you said: “not much” and ordered me to come on over. Then we had some drinks and food before we went to a pub downtown. There’s not many of my friends that I could call on Christmas eve and they’d tell me to come on over. It’s devastating that we were so close, but still lost contact… Anyway Oslo was, not surprisingly, dead quiet that night.

Can you remember that dead quiet? That dead quiet, that’s kind of like a visualization of how my soul feels like right now: nearly every window in every apartment was dark, there were no people on the streets, the pub was quiet – almost empty – just a few lost souls, us included. There was no traffic. The signal lights illuminated the cold streets and the snow was falling softly, covering our tracks as we were trying to run from our demons.

It’s possible that we outran them for a while, but there’s nowhere to run is there? You’ve stopped running now. You don’t have to anymore. But I do. I run alone, but there’s still nowhere to run. There’s no escape.

In Memory of Gunhild (04.02.1978 – 07.03.2017)

Sees i Valhall!

Even though the gun wasn’t invented until centuries after the Viking era, the word comes from Old Norse. The most common usage was in the female name Gunnhildr: gunn and hildr both can translate as “war” or “battle”. Only truly badass Vikings named their infant daughters “Warbattle”. –

Bluebird  by Bukowski

“There’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too tough for him,
I say, stay in there, I’m not going
to let anybody see

there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I pur whiskey on him and inhale
cigarette smoke
and the whores and the bartenders
and the grocery clerks
never know that
in there.
there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too tough for him,
I say,
stay down, do you want to mess
me up?
you want to screw up the
you want to blow my book sales in

there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too clever, I only let him out
at night sometimes
when everybody’s asleep.
I say, I know that you’re there,
so don’t be
then I put him back,
but he’s singing a little
in there, I haven’t quite let him
and we sleep together like
with our
secret pact
and it’s nice enough to
make a man
weep, but I don’t
weep, do you?”

― Charles Bukowski

Your husband, family & friends created this album for you:

38 thoughts on “In Memory of Gunhild 1978 – 2017

  1. Vi går aldrig ram forbi, livet er grusomt for de fleste af os. Jeg har altid fokuseret på alle de gode oplevelser jeg har haft med dem der “forlod os” før tid. Fremtid kan vi heldigvis ikke spå om, men vores fortid kan ingen tage fra os. Jeg har gennem årene mistet mange soulmates til den grusomme herre kaldet Døden, selvfølgelig savner jeg dem meget alle sammen, men de oplevelser vi havde sammen kan “fjolset med leen” ikke fjerne. 🙂

  2. I am so sorry Max- beautiful remembrance of your time spent together- thank you for sharing that and the photos of your friend Gunhild- may she rest in peace ❤

  3. Beautiful tribute to such a beautiful person and friend. It sounds like every moment with her was one well spent, and there is no one like her in her own way. Rest in peace and she will be remembered ❤

  4. Oh Max I am so very sorry. This is a beautiful piece in tribute to her. It’s so clear how close you were and how much you valued each other. Your writing is beautiful.

  5. I like what David Bennett said. When the soul is raw, the emotions are rather complicated to express, but this letter does a remarkable job of laying it bare.
    Again, my deepest sympathy.

    • Thanks Joanne. It took me a week to write it. Deleting stuff, adding stuff, deleting stuff again, rephrasing. I’m still not satisfied, but at some point you just have to draw the line and say: “that’s it, it’s finished” (unless you want to keep editing the same text forever).

  6. A beautiful and heart-felt tribute, Max. She sounds like a special person and one of those friend with whom you could pick up your friendship any time, even when you’d been out of contact for too long. So sorry for your loss.


  7. I agree with David. We each experience grief differently, but there is a shared thread that I suspect we’d all like to draw around you to let you know, in that tension and pull, that you’re part of a fabric of love and compassion.

  8. Pingback: Buddha & Ganesha in Oslo | Cardinal Guzman

  9. Heartfelt tribute to your friend. Feeling that dead quiet, is not to be taken lightly, and I relate to it.
    Hang on to the memories of the bubbles of joy and they will lift you.
    Keep strong.

  10. Cardinal, I am so sorry for your loss, for your grief. I hope you find comfort in your friend’s new-found peace as well as in the memories of her that you will always carry within your heart. Take good care of yourself as you process and heal.

  11. Hei,

    Jeg kjente Guspus for mange år siden. Vi har ikke snakket sammen på minst fem år. Ingen drama; vi bare mista kontakten—du vet hvordan det er. Idag fikk jeg utav skyfri himmel for meg at jeg skulle gjøre et lite søk på hva hun holdte på med nå om dagen, for hun var jaggu en flott person!

    Så fant jeg da altså dette blogginnlegget. Først trodde jeg nesten at det var en slags intern spøk, omenn en nokså dyster en—men sånn var jo Gunhild, så det ville ikke forundra meg idetheletatt. Så søkte jeg litt til, og fant etterhvert ut av frøken Sørensen var blitt fru Narud, og derifra var veien til bisettelsesannonseringa kort.

    Innlegget ditt er veldig fint, men jeg skulle virkelig ønske at det var en intern spøk—eller at jeg tilfeldigvis søkte på Gunhild Sørensen for to år sida istedenfor idag.


    • Heisann Alexander.
      Ja, jeg vet hvordan det er: Gunhild og jeg også bare mista kontakten uten noen form for drama. Heldigvis. Det er kjipere å miste kontakten med folk pga drama. Det hadde vært kult om blogginnlegget mitt var en spøk, men dessverre så er det ikke det… Selv så fant jeg ut av dødsfallet gjennom Facebook flere måneder i etterkant.

      Det ble mange tårer og endte med en låt:

      • Flott låt. En vakker hyllest til et vakkert menneske. Du treffer godt på den følelsen av et menneske som virkelig *når* deg. Gus var flink å nå folk, tror jeg. Hun var avslørende og avdekkende. Hun ville likt låten din godt. Det er jeg sikker på, etter tusenvis av ord—både enige og uenige—om musikk. Det var musikken som innledningsvis bragte oss sammen.

        Jeg vet ikke hva som skjedde med Gunhild; men hvanåenn det var, så kan det skje med hvemsomhelst andre. Man tenker jo at man har åra på seg… men åra går og kommer ikke tilbake; og om hundre år er allting glemt. Jeg skal ikke la det gå fem år med de andre jeg har mista kontakten med.

        Takk for en fin låt. Jeg skal spille den når jeg vil tenke på Guspus.

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