Friday, December 01, 2006

old photo


an old photo of my mormor and her sister. mormor is on the left. i can remember her doing this with her leg when she laughed, the top leg sticking skyward (often even higher than it is here), foot flexed with glee.

i like to recall how she moved through the world physically (as well as spiritually).

i can see her in her later years, in her apartment on john erikssonsgatan in stockholm, moving from the small kitchen table to the sink directly behind her. i sat across from her on the kitchen bench. the way she stood, perhaps somewhat unsteady (though not seeming to notice this herself), and swiftly cleared a plate from the table, barely moving her body, but quickly moving her arm in a fell swoop sort of way. it might make a stranger a bit nervous, like she might easily drop a plate, but it did not make me nervous. i was used to the way she moved.

i know all of my aunts, my mom and my cousins had special relationships with my mormor. she recognized and appreciated each of our unique personalities, talents and interests and forgave us our faults. and she was the person we all got along with. and i think those of us in the family who felt like outsiders at some point or another for our various reasons, all felt like at least she understood us, knew us and shared a closeness with us. what a gift.

the two years i lived in sweden, my mormor’s apartment was my landing spot. i stayed with her when i arrived, when i had vacations, and before i left. i feel lucky to have spent these times with her alone. walking to the store, post office and bank in kungsholmen, eating at her kitchen table, riding the bus and train together to various places. just occupying the same space and time. i was often quiet and she would tell me stories about her childhood and of morfar and their meeting. i like to think (and do think) it was obvious to her how deeply i loved her and morfar and that she knew i loved to hear about them, and that this was why she told me the stories.

it is almost a year now since she died. i think i will be thinking of her a lot this month. a friend told me she feels her grandmother’s presence more and more as time goes on. i hope i feel this way too. i do miss her physical presence though, her laughing foot pointing skyward. her short upper body (which got shorter with age as i imagine mine will someday too) and tall in comparison hips/legs, one hip jutting out more and more as she grew older and shorter, causing a bit of a lilt in her steps.


it's so strange and wonderful how people have such particular to them ways of moving and tones to their voices. even holding someone's hand, people seem to have particular densities or something. particular energy or consistency. spirit perhaps?

(for my cousins and mom. karin and mom, i think you're the only ones who read this...) kan ni inte hora hur hon svarar i telefonen sa varmt, "HEJ pa dig, du {eller ditt namn har}." jag tanker pa detta ibland for att jag kan hora det sa val o det kanns sa valkommande o karleksful. med morfar hor jag hur han svarade pa nagot man sa, "sager du det?" och "jaha, pa det sattet." det ar en till sadan dar daglig fras han anvande som jag brukar komma ihag, men just nu gor jag inte det.

i chose this photo because i haven't taken any new ones this week. i had only planned to write the first paragraph above, as a caption to the photo, but it became a long post instead.

see you tomorrow?

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post! I really enjoyed reading your blog!

hannah said...

love the photo and the laughing foot! thank you for sharing your memories. have fun tomorrow!

alyssa said...

Oh my gosh, what an incredibly lovely and moving story about your Mormor. It gave me chills and welled up tears when I read it. What an absolute gift that you just shared with the world by bringing your Mormor's life full force with love and color. I really felt for a couple of moments her powerful presence, joy and love of life. So lucky that you two shared that deepness of a relationship that is so rare. Take care.

Anonymous said...

so glad it turned into a long post that included english. the small details (foot pointed upward in laughter) of your memories of her are so poignant. really beautiful! see you tomorrow :)

Anonymous said...

Although my family are english we have chosen to call my mother Mormor to my son as his cousins are danish and call my mum Farmor (we already had a Grandma and didnt want to get things confused). I hope one day my children have such a special relationship with their Mormor as you do with yours.

Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

what a special story. i had a pretty special relationship with my granny lila too. i think it is their ability to be part of you but not like a parent is... maybe. i lost my granny recently and it is such a void. i love how you write out your memories like this - it always gets me thinking. thank you for sharing.

lisa s said...

shash... there are tears in my eyes... so special... i too love the foot story...

and yes... see you tomorrow...
xo

amisha said...

what a beautiful story... thank you for sharing it.
my grandmothers are in india but always close to me in spirit...

gracia said...

A "foot flexed with glee"...
The wonderful physicality (& spirituality) of someone dear to your heart.
Beautiful.
take care, g

julie said...

beautiful words and thoughts...

Anya said...

You have such an amazing way of expressing yourself, and your relationships.... I love it.

And you know, the more you describe your Mormor, the more she reminds me of... YOU.

Hugs...

kusink said...

Du skriver så fint om mormor. Jag kommer verkligen ihåg alla de där fraserna som hon sa! :-) Det känns konstigt att det är ett år sen hon gick bort. Både som att det är längesen och samtidigt alldeles nyss. Det här blir den första julen som varken mormor eller min farmor är här på jorden. Känns underligt. Livet är till låns.

Hoppas din glöggträff/holiday sale var lyckad! Hade jag bott i SF så hade jag givetvis varit där och shoppat och druckit!

kram och glad advent

sally said...

Beautiful post. Makes me miss my brother [in a good way].

anne said...

dear sash, what a beautiful post, thank you for sharing! it brings tears to my eyes and makes me remember my grandpa. so good, you remember her so well that you can describe her so vividly!

kelly said...

beautiful photo and sentiments. love the body language and the womanhood that the photo captures. just beautiful!

jenny vorwaller said...

this is so beautiful...the story, the laugh...the words paired with the photo...

mary said...

you really do have a wonderful gift for storytelling. i always love to read about your mormor and your relationship with her.

on saturday my family is celebrating my grandmother's 80th birthday. i feel so grateful to have her in my life, ad she's only an hour away.

thank you for this post, shash. it helps to remind me to take note of those little things.

Kim Carney said...

I love the photo. The relaxed love. thank you for the observations of your grandmother. It is wonderful and heart warming.