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NILS EINAR EK, 1926-2014
I've been to four funerals in Sweden. And four in the US, if I remember correctly: my father, his mother, her housekeeper's husband, and my maternal grandfather. Here in Sweden, the funerals were for the wife of one of Anders' friends, the girlfriend of his uncle, my friend Carol, and now Anders' father.

We spent most of the day in Oxie, at the church and the congregation home afterwards. The church is tiny and whitewashed, from the 12th century...it's Malmö county's oldest church.



Anders was five when his parents moved to Oxie; his sister was 3. They only moved to an apartment in Malmö about 4 years ago, so for most of my time in Sweden, Oxie was where we went to visit his parents. I don't think we've been back since they moved, though, so it was a bit strange to be there first on Sunday, for the service in which Einar's name was mentioned in the prayer list, and again today to say our public farewell.

It was a beautiful day today, hot in the sunshine, but perfect in the shade, with lots of birdsong and a light breeze. I was really glad for the weather, it added a definite lightening of mood for everyone. We arrived at 9:30 to help set the tables and prepare things for the small memorial reception after the service. Anders' mom, and the kids and I, walked over to the church, and sat for a bit in the sunshine in both of the new memorial garden spaces. The newest one, just finished, is where Anders' father's memorial plaque will be. The other was a quiet green space, with no plaque wall, at the back of the cemetery with a wall of sconce holders for candles. We sat on the park benches and talked quietly, and Märta brought the song of a cuckoo flying nearby to our attention. It really does say "Cuckoo"!

The service started at 11, and there were a lot of us to fill it. Many of their friends and former neighbors, friends from Einar's model airplane & boat club, Anders' best friend from childhood, and the family. The coffin, with a simple gold name plate, was at the front of the nave, surrounded by huge, beautiful, colorful bouquets sent by well-wishers.

We all wore dark colors, Anders and Mikael (his sister's husband) and their son Henrik, as well as Einar's brother Ingvar, were resplendent in dark suits with white shirts and white ties. Apparently, white ties symbolize the close familial connection. We sat in the front rows at the left, and the service was short and sweet. We all had a chance to come forward to stand before his coffin and lay a flower and say farewell.

The gathering afterward was very simple and nice... Anders had arranged catering from a local bakery: 3 small open-faced sandwiches and dessert. It was nice to sit and chat with people that we don't see very often, who remember Einar and have been part of his and Märta's lives for a long time. The kids were great, helping with serving and clearing, and being social. We walked back over to the churchyard after all the guests had left, to view the flowers, which had been removed from the church and laid out upon the grass. They will be there for 3-4 days in the sun and weather and then removed. The memorial plaque will be put up at a later date, and I'm sure we'll go back then for another visit.

Anders and I had been dreading the whole day, but both of us thought it went really smoothly, and he felt like it gave some closure to the whole family, and that it was good that the funeral was timed a few weeks later, so that the worst of the emotional storm was subsiding. It's still hard to believe that his dad is gone from us. I'm sure he rests in peace, though.

 contemplative
mood: contemplative
music: none, just me


Comments

That sounds lovely. I'm glad you had such nice weather, I agree it helps to lighten an otherwise very somber occasion.

i too was blessed with good weather when mom was put to rest. it makes it easier to remember, somehow...

i didn't know about the white ties.

I never heard of it either...

Glad it went well Liz.
For Anders (and maybe the kids) it might be the beginning of a grief process rather than a closure. I hope that goes as well as the ceremony and the day did. And I hope that Anders Mom has friends and family to support her in the difficult transition.

(Anonymous)
From Megsie

What a peaceful, lovely day. I am so glad everything ran smoothly. Death is so hard. I send you both lots of love and support. xoxoo

(Anonymous)

It sounds like the perfect day for the good memories to flow. Love, Lizardmom

(Anonymous)
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