I know, I know, it is not Friday today but a little “Show & Tell” on a Thursday couldn’t hurt anybody… Anna in Stockholm chose the morbid (?) subject of “Life after Death” last Friday but unfortunately I didn’t have time to blog last week. However, the guests left yesterday (and just sent me a text message telling me that they had landed in Copenhagen) and I am trying to catch up (again!) with blogging, emailing, and various household chores…
Anyway, the subject of “Life after death” is not something I have a strong opinion about. I don’t know if it is a question of lack of imagination, but just like the question of “life in outer space”, which I mentioned in a Friday theme in 2009, I don’t give it much thought in my everyday life. Of course it would be great if there was something for us after death, that life goes on in another form, shape or dimension, but I guess there is no way for us to know before we die…
Tomb stone for Nils Andersson, one of my ancestors on my maternal grandfather’s side. The inscription says that he was a farmer**at the property No4 Bosarp in Skipparp (part of Ravlunda parish) and was born the 13th April 18?? (year unreadable) and died in May 1883.
I like Bejla‘s interpretation of the expression “Life after death”, that everybody needs to learn to continue living after a dear one has passed away. So true but very difficult.
Another way of interpreting the theme, maybe a little far-fetched, is also one of my interests (that I haven’t really developed much yet); that of family history or genealogy. Fortunately my paternal grandmother and my maternal grandfather, as well as my maternal grandmother’s brother (farmor, morfar, mormors bror) did a lot of family research before they passed away and I hope that I will be able to continue their work in the future. I think that it is something we owe to past generations; to remember them and to collect their “life histories”*. We can learn so much from our ancestors; their lives and experiences have shaped the [family] environment where we have grown up, and therefore also formed who we are and where we are.
My maternal grandmother’s brother did an excellent job of writing down everything he knew of his family, both facts (birth dates etc) and oral histories about the family, in an autobiography. My grandmother has kindly lent me the two typed and bound volumes of his [unpublished] work and I am trying to copy down everything that concerns the family in general in a Word document. The plan is to interview my grandmother to see if she remembers more or differently than her younger brother.
This is my way of making sure that my ancestors have a life after death…
Not the grave of one of my ancestors, but that of a 19th century murdered woman. The inscription at the bottom of the tomb stone says “The poor woman’s tears and prayers didn’t affect them at all” (Den arma qvinnans tårar och böner rörde dem alls intet)
The grave in the photo above is an example of a person who after her death has lived on in history and people’s minds. Who would have thought that poor Hanna Johansdotter who was only 22 when she died would have a “life after death” and be immortalised in books and films. Hanna was buried at the same cemetery as part of my family, and her destiny was especially tragic. She was murdered in 1889 by her husband and her mother-in-law. The case is one of the most famous in criminal history in Sweden, both because it was discovered that the husband / son and mother[-in-law] had an incestuous relationship and because the mother was the last woman to be executed in Sweden in 1890. The son was released from prison in 1913. Read more here (in Swedish).
On another topic: I finished reading my 90th book since arriving to Puerto Rico yesterday. The big question is – will I manage to reach my goal of 100 books? I have more or less one month left before we move… Check out the books I have read on this page (also a link just below my header photo at the top of the blog), unfortunately I haven’t written reviews on all the books.
Oh, and the book I actually both started and finished yesterday was “Confessions of a Jane Austen addict“, which is kind of funny since I have actually read THREE Jane Austen-related books since November 2007, even though I wouldn’t call myself a JA-addict having only read Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility (Jane Austen wrote 6 books in total). My sister is the true Jane Austen addict in the family!
*) The Swedish word “levnadsöde” which directly translated would be “life destiny” seems to encompass more a person’s history and experiences during his / her lifetime, than the English word “destiny” which in Swedish is “öde”. What do you think?
**) Åbo[en] betyder “en jordägare som själv bebodde och brukade sin jordegendom” enligt det här släktforskningsforumet.