Arian Knops


3 mins
November 24, 2021


“Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence.”  What a gorgeous sentence. And it is so true.

The sky was dark last night, and the stars were hidden from view by the clouds that had arrived just before sunset. It was also one of those nights when my sleep was fitful, so I went to my sunroom to listen to the sounds of nighttime. I was greeted by silence. It was peace at its best.

Sitting in that dark and quiet room I had the chance to think about my upcoming heart surgery. I just thought some answer about life might appear out of the darkness. It didn’t, but neither did any morbid thoughts about the end of days mentioned somewhere in the Bible.

The end of days scenario sparked some thinking about such a time and that it happens everyday to people all over the world as their lives end and are very often summarized in an obituary in one obscure newspaper or another.

I just happen to read the obits in the Minneapolis Star Tribune every Saturday or Sunday just to see if anyone I know was making his or her way to have a discussion with the angels about getting some time in Heaven. I’m not sure if I want to go the Pearly Gates route since very few of my relatives might actually be there. That possibility is shocking to me and would be to you also if you knew my relatives. I just hope my mom is there. She deserves some time in a place of glory having never seen any in her short lifetime. I’m confident that some of the others are shoveling coal for the Prince of Darkness. Does shoveling coal to keep Hell hot cause galactic or universe warming? I’d venture to guess not.

My wife, Arlene, and I watched a video about open heart surgery to allay any fears we had about the procedure. It looks like I’ll have some pain for a bit of time, but a few months out of a lifetime more than three-quarter of a century long isn’t all that bad if I get to spend more years with Arlene my Guardian Angel.

She is being strict with me about what I can and can’t do and a day or two ago I resorted to calling her Mrs. Hitler. The more I thought about it I thought it a bit rude and crass to call her that, so I’ve switched it to ‘The Mother Superior’ in deference to my Catholic upbringing. A Mother Superior is the chief nun in a coven of nuns. The ones I knew in my youth came closer to the Mrs. Hitler thing than most non-Catholics could ever imagine.

The more I think of it, the more I guess Heaven would be a good option especially if my cousin Terry’s reason for going to Heaven is correct. Terry died two-and a half years ago after cancer reduced him from a man of nearly three hundred pounds to a shriveled-up man who resembled E.T. Shortly before his death Terry told me that’s the only reason, he wanted to go to Heaven is that HE KNEW there wouldn’t be any Benedictine Nuns there. Who am I to dispute the thoughts of a dying man? 

I’ve never really worried that much about dying since I learned many years ago that life is terminal for men, trees, cats, stars and even this earth with eventually perish into the dust bin of the Universe.

I like to think about the life I’ve led and hope I’ve done okay in the life department. I’m sure there are going to be dark nights in the future when I can reflect on some of the good I’ve done and also not repeat some of the mistakes I, as well as all other humans, have made.

I know that over the next few weeks to months there will be nights when I can’t sleep. I will sit in that dark room again and be thankful for what I have. And maybe plan out what to do with some of the time I have left of this life. The average lifespan after heart surgery is 17.6 years. I think I’ll opt for a five-year plan. If I get to renew it in another five years, I won’t be greedy, and I’ll settle for a two-year plan.

“Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence.” I think I’ll add life to that list.

[In case you are wondering about our pal Arian Knops, he had triple bypass surgery on Tuesday, November 2, and is recovering nicely. Arlene, his wife, has been taking excellent care of him. They replaced a leaky heart valve with a pig valve. Does this mean that eating bacon is akin to cannibalism for him?]

Arian Knops, proving that he does indeed have a heart. (Photo by Arlene Knops)

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Arian Knops

Arian is a short story contributor to the Sentinel & Rural News. Arian has written two full-length thrillers which have received critical and popular acclaim. Arian lives in Bruce, WI, with his charming wife, Arlene.