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Vieraskieliset / In-english

Blog: Fa­re­wel­ls

Vieraskieliset / In-english
7.3.2018 6.46

Juttua muokattu:

31.12. 09:27

My grand­fat­her died in the au­tumn just over a ye­ar ago. The de­ath of an old per­son is sad and nos­tal­gic. The ine­vi­ta­bi­li­ty of de­ath is ea­sy to un­ders­tand ra­ti­o­nal­ly, but the fi­na­li­ty of se­pa­ra­ti­on is he­art-ren­ding. I have ne­ver per­so­nal­ly ex­pe­rien­ced the de­ath of yo­un­ger per­son, whose thread of life is cut at a time when they still hear their fleet-foo­ted child­ren’ steps around them and are sur­roun­ded by bust­ling life. Nor have I had the ex­pe­rien­ce of lo­sing the bud­ding life of a baby that will ne­ver re­ach the full bloom of child­hood. Some pe­op­le have had to give up yo­ung li­ves, too, and those se­pa­ra­ti­ons are the har­dest of all to bear.

When I met my grand­pa two Christ­ma­ses ago, I was start­led by how fra­gi­le he had be­co­me. He used to be a strong man: like a tall, ma­jes­tic pine tree. All of a sud­den the shoul­ders un­der his flan­nel shirt felt nar­row, the bo­nes bul­ging un­der the fab­ric. Then came grand­pa’s last au­tumn: he fell down like a migh­ty tree, his he­art struck by a storm. I was sad he did not see saw the full be­au­ty of that au­tumn: the gol­den glow of dry grass, the flight of swans – those gra­ce­ful birds of au­tumn and lon­ging. But these were my thoughts and my grief; he that has pas­sed away no lon­ger feels or longs for anyt­hing. All me­a­nings have ce­a­sed to exist.

When grand­pa died, we lost the old sto­ries that had spun to­get­her thre­ads of time from the 1930s to the pre­sent. We no lon­ger he­ard his fa­mi­li­ar steps in the cor­ri­dor. The de­ath of an el­der wi­pes out de­ca­des of his fa­mi­ly’s col­lec­ti­ve his­to­ri­cal me­mo­ry. I can still see in my mind grand­pa’s fi­gu­re mo­ving around the hou­se, but I won­der how long I can keep these ima­ges now that they are no lon­ger prop­ped up by re­a­li­ty.

The re­la­ti­ons­hip bet­ween a grand­pa­rent and a child is of­ten warm and gent­le, lac­king the ten­si­ons pos­sib­ly pre­sent in pa­rent-child re­la­ti­ons­hips. Love re­ac­hes down from the ol­der ge­ne­ra­ti­on to the yo­un­ger. Old pe­op­le te­ach us to live the life that is here now. We need not be con­cer­ned about world events, unin­ter­rup­ted news feeds, glo­bal re­le­van­ce of things. The on­ly re­le­vant thing is that we are in the same room, lis­te­ning, not spe­a­king too much, be­cau­se the most im­por­tant thing with old pe­op­le is to lis­ten.

I was again re­min­ded of fa­re­wel­ls last sum­mer when I met my grand­mot­her, who is over 90 ye­ars old. Her step was shor­ter and her me­mo­ry did not re­ach very far. Dear, sil­ly grand­ma: she pac­ked a cof­fee cup from the bed­si­de tab­le in­to her hand­bag and kept as­king over and over again: ”Did we bring the pil­ls? Did I al­re­a­dy take my pil­ls?”, alt­hough she had ta­ken her me­di­ci­nes on­ly ten mi­nu­tes ago. She sat there, fol­lo­wing the wa­ves of con­ver­sa­ti­on that rol­led past her, the count­less sto­ries of per­so­nal ex­pe­rien­ces, sum­mer ser­vi­ces, eve­ry­day life.

Grand­ma was no lon­ger ab­le to join the flow of con­ver­sa­ti­on, though she had ac­ti­ve­ly par­ti­ci­pa­ted on­ly two ye­ars pre­vi­ous­ly. When she was le­a­ving, she slow­ly wa­ved her hand and smi­led: “If you hap­pen to drive by, come and see me!” A small per­son with the weight of ye­ars in her body, an old wo­man and a lit­t­le girl at the same time. A pool of clear, qui­et wa­ters has gat­he­red in­si­de me. The mo­ments of past mee­tings are like pre­ci­ous, glit­te­ring lights in my mind. In a me­mo­ry di­sor­der, the pro­cess of se­pa­ra­ti­on be­gins when the fa­mi­li­ar per­son seems to be gli­ding away. We still hang on to her, and she still hangs on to us, but the grasp is gra­du­al­ly re­le­a­sed, and she en­ters her own world of no re­col­lec­ti­on.

Time pas­ses by us and through us, ye­ars upon ye­ars and de­ca­des upon de­ca­des. We have our place in the chain of ge­ne­ra­ti­ons. The ol­der links of the chain are con­nec­ted to ours by flim­sy fi­la­ments. When our pre­des­ti­ned time on earth co­mes to an end, it is time to let go for good. It is good to let go if you have pe­a­ce in yo­ur soul. Fa­re­well is an im­men­se­ly be­au­ti­ful word. Fare you well. We le­a­ve you in the pro­vi­den­ce of all good things.

Text: Ma­ria Hy­vä­ri

Trans­la­ti­on: Sirk­ka-Lii­sa Lei­no­nen

You will find the ori­gi­nal Fin­nish blog post here.


Kun To­tuu­den Hen­ki tu­lee, hän joh­taa tei­dät tun­te­maan koko to­tuu­den. Joh. 16:13

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