Friday, June 22, 2007


I'm feeling sad tonight because I heard that one of my Norway cousins passed away two months ago. This cousin was a twin in her 30s, living in Skien, a city famous for being the home Norway's most famous playwright, Henrik Ibsen.

Two summers ago, my parents, my youngest sister, her children and I spent a delightful couple of days with Gru (pronounced "grew"), her sister Eva, and their parents. I had never seen them before this, and did not know much about them prior to our visit. We were impressed with their warmth and openness and how they welcomed us into their home and took such good care of us while we were there. The girls did not live with their parents, but near enough so that they spent the days with us all. In fact, they went out of their way to take me to Ibsen's home, knowing that I was an English teacher.

This, by itself, wouldn't be a big deal until you know that Gru's quality of life was severely compromised by some kind of illness that affected her ability to breathe. In fact, she was only able to take in about 20% oxygen on her own, so had to carry her own supply at all times. As a result, she had little or no energy. Even walking up a few steps exhausted her and she was unable to stand for more than a few minutes at a time.

It was easy enough to pity her, but she refused any attempts at sorrow or regret. She was bright and funny and keenly interested in everything around her. She lived with her sister, who was so kind and loving, giving and doing so much for her.

We were completely charmed by these two young women and bonded with them immediately. I have e-mailed back and forth with Eva a few times since then, and my sister has even more. So imagine the heavy sadness to discover today that Gru passed away in April. I know it's probably for her best not to have to struggle for every breath she takes, but what a loss to her family and friends...I can only imagine.

I wrote to her mom expressing my sadness, but making sure she knew what a blessing it had been to know Gru, even just for two days...

Photos: 1) Eva is on the left. Gru took the picture. 2) Henrik Ibsen. 3) Gru is on the right. This is taken in her parents' home. Her uncle and aunt are to her left. 4) Church where family members are buried. 5) Family headstone.

1 comment:

Patty said...

Sorry to hear about your cousin Rondi. Its really a tragic thing when a young person passes, it seems wrong to have a life cut short.