Sunday, March 18, 2007

Dear Mormor

Dear Mormor,

You've left us now, quite suddenly and unexpectedly, and without the deterioration of health that all too frequently marks the passing of ones your age. That brings the total events in the last ten months for the Christensen side of the family to four funerals (Morfar, Great Uncle Gunnar, Uncle Agner, and now you) and a wedding (Sheila and Nathan). Not as happy a title as the reverse, which we all remember as a good film, but nevertheless a short accounting of the events.

I didn't know you too well. Distance and language make that difficult at times. I knew you well enough to love you, though. You learned English so you could speak to us, even as we struggled with the little we remember of Danish. When we were growing up, your letters to Mom and Dad always included postcards of horses or dogs, stickers, glandsbilder: something small and Danish that we couldn't get in Canada, and could collect and admire (which we did). You were very good to us. We had strict instructions to buy presents with birthday and Christmas money, and though there were times I found it very difficult not to buy something supremely practical, I did take great pleasure in thinking to myself as I walked to the till, "This is what Mormor (and Morfar when he too was with us) has given me for my birthday." After Morfar's death, when you were choosing which things to take to your new apartment and which to give to members of your family, you chose for me an embroidered picture of an angel that your own aunt had made for you when you were a girl. You told Mom that you knew that I would appreciate it, because I loved threadcraft. You were right.

I wish you could have met Mike. There is a part of me that I haven't liked to face that knew, ever since we went to Denmark two years ago, I would never see any of my grandparents again, that they would never meet the man I love, and that this facet of my life, the Danish elders (for lack of a better term), would never be something that he experiences. I put that part in a Pandora's box in a corner of my brain; it was too hard to face on a daily basis. Your passing has unlocked it again, though do not be sorry for that. I am sad, yes, for so many reasons, but just because it is difficult to face doesn't mean that I shouldn't, or can't.

I heard that Ole gave you strict instructions, after Agner's death, that you weren't allowed to die just yet. I suppose you held out for as long as you could. I am glad, though, that you didn't die in pain, in weakness, or in distress. I am glad it was peaceful, and I hope that whatever transition you have now made was also peaceful. Thank you for being part of my life. Good bye.

Love, Vanessa


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