Saturday, September 20, 2014

Helmi ... A Life of Grace and Generosity

My Mother sitting on the bench and her sister Helmi "my other Mother."

What is it that connects two people in that special way that makes the relationship so strong, so easy, and the love flows strong and natural?  A love that simply IS!

Helmi is far right..
Helmi (far right)
Helmi (third from left)

How many times I have wondered?  Very  many times.  Thinking it might have something to do with the season in which you were born?  Is it connected with the astrological sign?  Chance?  Or simply chemistry?

Helmi and husband Gunnar with their two children Jan-Otto and Gunn

I do not have the answer still.  What I do know is that the persons in my life born in my own birth month, October, or under the same sign Libra, we do have a very special link somehow.

Gunnar and Helmi
My "Other Mother" my Aunt Helmi is on top of that special persons list.  She has had a profound influence in my life, teaching me almost everything I know about goodness, generosity, beauty in it's varying forms, humbleness and appreciation.

Helmi and my Mom

Helmi in her self-effacing way has always given more than she received.  She was never aware of her many amazing talents.  She would sew clothes to order as well as clothes for us, mend for friends and neighbours, let out and take  in seems, she baked the most delectable pastries, cakes and breads using a wood fired stove and oven and cooked and fed multitudes on a dime!  She canned and "apple-sauced" like no other. She the ultimate "caretaker" cared for  her children, her husband, (another special October person), her Mother, her Father, her sister, (my Mother) my sisters and myself.  Helmi tended hers and my Uncles garden.  Never wasting a thing!  She lived, when I was a little girl, in a flat with no warm water, she warmed water on the wood burning stove for those Friday night baths in a tub placed on the living room floor!  She was ALWAYS happy that you came to visit!  When you left  there was apple sauce and cake in your bag and some money in your pocket.

Later property was purchased, a house was built, with the help of family and friends.  There was warm running water and an electric stove. Imagine all the delectable items prepared there.  My cousins were married.  Grandchildren arrived. Great grandchildren too.  Still, in all that, I was somehow given  a special place.  There was always room for me too.

We wrote to each other, year after year!  Once overseas telephone calls became affordable I would call so we could chat, up until the day when it became difficult for Helmi to hear.  The physical distance between us has been far, most of my life, yet Helmi always felt close.  I think she always will feel close!

My beloved Moster Helmi transitioned into another realm today!  Surrounded by her family holding her hands.  It is difficult for me to think of her not physically on this earth.  For me to write to, or visit, or hug, or speak to.  Something I will miss, terribly.

Yet I know she is like a perennial flower, reappearing in all of us who loved her endlessly.

She left us three weeks before turning the 100 year mark.  I don't think she wanted any fuss....

Thank you Moster Helmi for ALL that LOVE!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Heavy Mist and Swirling Thoughts....

We head out the door really early this Sunday morning, as we do every  mornings.  Ten minutes before six we are already going past the Ridgemark Lodge..... in the dark!  A flashlight would have been good to have as the ocean mist is thick and heavy.  Usually the mist stays on the opposite side of the Diablo Mountain Range but this morning it had spilled over.  Garbo's coat and my hair gets damp from the fog, as we go on our way,  down Paullus Drive.

As we walk in the dark I think about the fact that Garbo gives me such a sense of  security!  Without Garbo, would I be out stomping around in the dark?  Hardly!

She is growing up our girl!  Developing a more mature look and sensibility about her.  We are learning a lot at dog class she and I with Tiffany as a positive instructor with much knowledge and patience.
This morning we meet a couple of dogs and their owners as we are about half way done with our close to two hour morning walk and towards the end as we are on our way back home we meet one of Garbo's favorite people!  She gets to snuggle and nuzzle.  Our friend gets her "Garbo fix" and off we go to start our day.  It is fun to think that even our dogs have favorites.

To our delight we see a post from Pernilla on Facebook today about Katia - Garbo's Mom-she won yet another prestigious prize in Eslöv's International Dog Show!  3,500 dogs were competing!  The Vi'Skaly's dogs are amazing!  As someone said:  "what a family"!

Today is the day the citizens in Sweden vote for a new government.  It is with bated breath I await the results..... Will those in the populous fearful of those different from themselves gain large numbers of votes?  It is too early to tell as I write this, Oh, how I hope not.

Sweden is a very progressive country!  People there have, for the most part, such a different outlook on how things should and could be.  Thinking in the collective rather than the "I".  Caring about Mother Earth with more fervor.  Working hard to change the equality gap.  May they continue to go forward...... Is it perfect there?  No.  But it is a fabulous place.  I am indeed proud to be swedish and yes, I voted too!

There is yet another fire burning in Oakhurst as I write this.  Reportedly an arsonist has now been caught, while families are fleeing from the fire!  Hoping fervently that old friends, Brian and his family, Penny Pie, our many ex-customers and everyone else, will be safe!

My mom on the left and Helmi "my other mom."

As we trot down the streets and pathways here, Garbo and I, my thoughts travel to Sweden and hover above and around my Moster Helmi .. (Mothers Sister - or Auntie.)  She will turn the 100 year mark the very 1 of October!  Feeling tired and weak these days, my cousins inform me.  I hold my breath! Imagining a time without her in my life.  Selfishly thinking of the loss of my "childhood" as she, my beloved Other Mother has forever been the link.  She has always been my "touchstone," my "rock," ever since I was a  very little girl.