Monday, March 26, 2012

A Loved Woman: Mormor

Unfortunately, last week, Mikey lost his grandmother but thankfully it was a peaceful death. While death may never be welcomed or fully understood, it is a part of life and if death can come quietly, gently and at the end of a long fulfilling life then I think we all must be thankful and simply rejoice in the beautiful life that was lived. Mormor (mother’s mother in Swedish) smiled until the very end. She touched so many lives and her memories will always live on. While someone may physically leave this world, their energy will still be felt…it is when you are walking down the street and remember Mormor playing the accordion, it brings a smile to your face which, in turn, causes another person to smile. The butterfly effect. A beautiful person never completely leaves us. They are here, still touching the world. Below is a little write up from Mike remembering his grandmother:

Dorothy Selander was a wonderful woman. She held and embraced many roles during her life including:

1. a wife

2. a mom

3. a daughter

4. a great grandmother

5. a neighbor

6. a friend

But to me she was my grandmother => my mother’s mother or in Swedish => mormor

My brothers and I eventually tweaked this and she became known to us as MUM.

We had the luxury of growing up 2 houses from MUM in our North Branford neighborhood. Each and every child on Brook Lane grew up to know her and refer to her as MUM. The Horns, Sullivans, Fletchers, Zawadowski’s, Nestor/Cathy respected her as if she was their own grandmother; playing an active role in her life as they kept her entertained, safe, and feeling like part of their families. We thank you for that.

MUM loved Sweden => both the country and their language. Every year I’d look forward to the holiday & bday cards I’d get where I would have no idea what they said. This also held true for the occasional one sided conversations she was known for having with us where she would talk Swedish and I would just nod and smile. I had no idea what she was saying. The Birthday song was a staple within our family and ultimately for anyone out of the family whose birthday Mormor happened to be at. Other than the courageous few who even attempted to join her, MUM didn’t care, singing solo and pelting out the words like she was auditioning for Sweden Idol.

Holiday times were particular special. Xmas eve at her house was an intimate affair to say the least. 30+ family members crammed into the living room, upstairs bedrooms, and the basement, we didn’t care. She was always so happy to show off her magical table that started out as a coffee table and transformed into one that could accommodate 15+ people. She loved her Swedish smorgasbord. For us kids, this smorgasbord was scarier than Morfar not getting his dessert. We had no idea what mystery food was being served at this food display. Most of us kids represented our Swedish heritage proud each Xmas eve at Mormors by filling our bellies with the mini hotdogs as we couldn’t identify most of the other items on the table. Our beverage choice was just as challenging. Mormor offered the ‘mystery’ pink juice in that green jug near her sink. NASA scientists are still trying to figure out what exactly it was.

MUM was never shy to extend an invite into her home. Her door was always open to any relative or friend that had the privilege of making North Branford their destination. You never really knew how you were related to any of her guests so you just referred to them as your cousin. Hearing the names Stig, Sven, Jurgen, & Juta, from places such as Smoland, Stockholm, & Juteburg was more common in her house than hearing than the Sam, Andy, Peter and Teds from Hartford, New Haven, & Stamford heard at other homes. Mormor felt the need to offer this hostel service anywhere you traveled on behalf of others, instructing whoever was traveling to go and stay with Aunt ‘so and so’ in Skokie, IL or cousin ‘so and so’ in Germany…or Uncle ‘so and so’ in Sweden.

My grandmother will truly be missed and these stories aren’t even close to articulating how special she truly was. I love you Mormor.


Lynda S. said...

Love the momentos...they made me smile. A very special mother, grandmother and great grandmother to all. She will always bring happy thoughts. Thank you for the beautiful tribute Kate.