Decades are significant.
60 years ago my mother became a mother.
50 years ago we moved to Canada from Sweden.
50 years ago, my mother started to write letters home to Sweden.
30 years ago, my mother’s second grandchild was born.
10 years ago, I had my ear to my mother’s chest and listened as her heart slowed down and then stop. My brother held her face and guided her through. Surrounded by family. Her final exhale liberated her soul and I felt right then she flew straight down to San Francisco to be with my daughter who flew home ta few days later.
On this day, I am lucky enough to work from home and simply be in my space in peace and joy. I did what I learned so well from mamma- I cleaned the bathroom, did the dishes, mopped the floors (making sure to go behind the furniture).
I ate food so iconically mamma- pannkaka and cookies and egg.
Drank coffee. And bit into an apple.
The apple is significant.
Mamma’s full name is Karin Kristina Orwald (Thorsen).
The Emigrant Saga Series by Wilhelm Moberg has so many parallels to mamma’s journey. And the main character, Kristina, is wrapped in the metaphor her beloved apple tree at home in Sweden and on her death bed holds a ripe apple from her tree in Minnesota.
I remember that final year, when I mopped mom’s floors and she lay on her bed and we laughed and shared stories and talked about Pinesol.
I love you, Mamma.
This post is dedicated to my cousin, Dan Orwald, who passed away suddenly last week.