Eulogy by Leah Thompson, September 18, 2010
Pilgrim Congregational Church
Thank you so much for being here today to celebrate the life of my Mormor.
This past week my family and I have spent a lot of time looking through photographs of Mormor’s life. And what a life she lived. But I am here to talk about the chapter of her life as Mormor to my sister and me.
Starting from when I was very young, she would watch me a few days a week while my parents worked. We would sing songs all day in English and Swedish and she recorded many of our song sessions together. That was the height of my singing career. I have always treasured those recordings, but never more than now. Often she addresses our older selves, telling us what we will think when we hear these recordings as adults. It is like she is talking to me, still imparting life lessons.
We had a lot of fun together. She made Marie and me feel so special.
We somehow got into a routine called first and second breakfast when staying the night with Mormor. We would be treated to breakfast upstairs in her place at the Bluffs or on the veranda in Askersund, Sweden – usually breads with cheese and marmalade and then hours later we would journey downstairs for a second hot breakfast. Good thing Marie and I were athletic children…
Everyone here probably remembers Mormor’s beautiful singing voice and hopefully you were lucky to spend an afternoon, or a hundred afternoons, at her home for coffee and goodies.
Mormor impacted my life in many ways, and taught me many things, but I have to say, I unfortunately did not inherit her operatic voice or her talent with baked goods. And it sure didn’t help that she never wanted anyone in her kitchen.
But beyond the voice and the pepparkakor was a larger gift – she was the most amazing hostess and care taker.
Not just in the way she threw a party but in how the moment you stepped into her home, she made you feel so special.
So mostly it is this sincerity, the way she cared for others that I will remember forever.
And it is this part of Mormor that I know she taught to all of us – that I see the most in my mom and my sister and that I aspire to see in myself.
A friend said to me last night that the love Mormor had for me and Marie was palpable. It really was. I am not sure how to describe it, but it was a reassuring love. I feel a huge part of the sense of self I created as a young adult is supported or held up by her love.
But of course my Mormor shaped who I have become. What I maybe didn’t fully realize until she was gone was the large web of more distant lives she has also reached. Whether it was singing Santa Lucia in the 4th grade class or teaching me and my high school friends to make meatballs or the sweet messages she would leave for me at my house in the bay area that my roommates would come home to hear. All of these memories have been relayed back to me in the past week. And she similarly touched the lives of the friends of my sister and mother, many who are here today.
I saw Mormor three weeks ago and we had a great visit. I can still feel her smooth hand in mine. She sang Jag Elskar Dig to us, her favorite song, which means “I love you” in Swedish. It is hard imagine she is gone. But the love she shared, it is in all of us now.
Now I am going to close by asking my sister to join me up here to say the Swedish prayer mormor taught us as children:
Gud som haver barnen kär,
se till mig som liten är.
Vart jag mig i världen vänder,
står min lycka i Guds händer.
Lyckan kommer, lyckan går,
den Gud älskar, lyckan får.