Saturday, March 1, 2014

so has love



My grandfather left Norway the moment he reached legal age, the moment he turned sixteen. He had been poised for flight for ten years by then.
His story began a lifetime before though. In fact, the very beginning of the story cannot be told. It is like picking up a book and beginning to read somewhere in the middle. 
There are questions left unanswered that way of course,
mysteries and clues, fragments of story.
This photo is very old, and shows my grandfather’s own father as a young boy. The boy was raised by grandparents. I wonder why? They were said to have been overly indulgent, as were his older sisters.  Perhaps they were trying to give him something that he had lost. 
In the end, he lost his wife and his children, the family farm and his health.
I didn’t know that man, that great grandfather, but I did know his little boy, my wonderfully wise Norwegian grandfather.
My grandfather was six when his mother died. He was eldest of three with a little brother and sister.
His aunt traveled by steam ship across the Atlantic to take them to live with her in America but the grandmother would not let the eldest, my grandfather go. His little brother and sister were torn from his life then.
The pages of his childhood are difficult to read; his father forgetting and drinking to forget, the family farm slipping through his fingers.
Loss has a way of staining ahead, touching one generation and reaching into the next.
But so has love.
And love is not weakened by time or distance.
My grandfather loved his brother and sister. That love was great, even greater than his terrible loss. It gave him a dream; a single-minded purpose. It drew him across the Atlantic, straight and true.
His brother and sister were there.
He got to be with them again, to know them, to love them.
He lost his sister in the flu epidemic too soon, but his brother was a constant in his life for the next sixty years how ere the winds of life blew.
To live is to know loss. It is a part of everyone’s story.
But love is too.
And it has the power to heal and free.
It lets us write the present over the past.

2 comments:

Peg said...

This brings tears to my eyes. So many families torn apart in years past, so many tragic circumstances. But so good to know that your grandfather was able to be reunited with his family in the end. Hard to imagine what his life must have been.

Down by the sea said...

How sad this story is. It was wonderful to read that they were eventually reunited but those lost years of separation in childhood could never be replaced.
Sarah x