The Story of the Snowy Owl
by The Snowy Owl AIDS Foundation
29th, 1993, a cold and windy day, family and friends were gathered around my brother Louis. The doctor announced that Louis would be
leaving us at any moment. Knowing of Louis' enormous fear of death, the doctors told us that Louis was fighting all the way and
had no intentions of letting go. We were assured that Louis was no longer in pain. With our parents' guidance and faith in
God, we gathered even closer to Louis, each one of us holding onto one another as the end approached. As each of us
held onto Louis with all our courage and faith, we spoke painful words of encouragement so that Louis could sense
our support, and know he could let go, and leave in peace.
I questioned my values, my beliefs and my love for God, yet in the same breath I learned the meaning of true love. This was
a gift from Louis. Learning to let go of someone you love is the greatest test in life, letting go of God's greatest gift.
As we all held onto Louis, I noticed my younger brother looking out towards the waters with an astonished look. Within
seconds my other brother found himself also looking away from Louis onto the waters. Astounded and frustrated with what they were
doing, I too, turned toward the window only to see the most beautiful sight, an enormous Snowy Owl, she was breathtaking. She
stood at the edge of the property perched between water and land, like Louis was between life and death. With no explanation
each one of us would take turns between the window and Louis feeling an incredible presence amongst us. We all knew that
she was here to bring Louis back with her. Her presence filled the room with great anxiety as we recognized her purpose.
We had never seen such a bird as this Snowy Owl. Yet we all knew she was part of a new world. Time was passing, this Snowy
Owl looked upon my brother with softness from the heavens. She would look towards the northern skies and back to Louis as if to motion
the path to come, a bridge that my brother was now to cross along side the wings of life. Anxious hearts were beating louder and
faster as we all admired this graceful bird. The moment had arrived, Louis was lifted from our hearts and home with graceful
wings and the wisdom of life.
I knew Louis' spirit had been lifted from us and yet he was very much with us. I left the house and walked towards this
enormous bird who would carry my brother on her wings and asked her to keep him safe.
She flew with enormous and powerful wings into the northern cold winds over the crashing waves, unspoken, carrying his spirit and dreams.
Some of us stood outside wanting one last flight, hoping for another moment to share before she crossed the waters forever. This
moment filled my heart and dreams, truly lifting my soul. Love is alive even though we must part.
I was never to see this owl again but only in my dreams, as I hold her close to my heart. Louis' soul is wild and free
just like the Snowy Owl. An experience that came with no direction, adding to our journey, true colours of love.
Louis told me that he learned the meaning of ADIEU before dying and believed we would see each other again, with God..."
"ADIEU", he said.
"The owl seen throughout the website, is that very owl."
This is the ACTUAL Owl.
About The Snowy Owl AIDS Foundation
The Snowy Owl AIDS Foundation is a fully recognized charitable Foundation established in memory of Louis Turpin.
The goal of the Snowy Owl AIDS Foundation is to establish, build and maintain a financial resource available to organizations dedicated to HIV/AIDS education, prevention, direct or support services, primary care and/or the expansion, enhancement of existing HIV/AIDS services.
Founded in 1995, the foundation began its journey with the publishing of the book "Look Beyond - The Faces and Stories of people living with HIV/AIDS" photographed by Michelle Valberg, assistant photographer Jacqueline Turpin. Michelle and Jacqueline journeyed across Canada in search of people willing to share their faces and stories. This resulted in our first successful fundraising event in 1997, with the launch of the book.
AIDS Walk Ottawa is our second most successful fundraising event. Having taken part since 1994 the foundation became a partner in 1996 and continues to support the efforts to raise funds and awareness.
Lise D. Turpin
The Snowy Owl AIDS Foundation
La Fondation Harfang des Neiges pour le SIDA
185 Robertson Road
Nepean, ON K2H 5Z2
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