10 Sep 2009

Let's go for a walk

Yesterday was 09/09/09 and my mother would have turned 53 had she still been with us.

But she isn't so I went to her resting place at Järfälla churchyard to leave a little flower and spend a part of what might be the very last summer day of the year in her company.

A 10-minute ride with commuter train took me to Barkarby, a sleepy and desolate suburb of no consequence other than being only a few kilometers from the place where I grew up, and my eye first met with a hideous conference hotel with the name of "Welcome" (they obviously left out "...to the seventies" by mistake), but by walking for only a few minutes, I suddenly found myself in the middle of a square with two lovely old buildings.

The yellow house is the old municipal building, first raised in 1719. Today the house is let for parties, weddings and such. Next to it is the inn, of an even older date and once obliged by law to supply travelers with horses, food and shelter. You can still get a (pricey) meal there today.

The restaurant calls itself Lasse-Maja* after the notorious thief that dressed in women's clothing (partly as a disguise and partly because of preference) and continuously escaped from the clutches of the law (and prison) until he finally got caught and sentenced to life time imprisonment after robbing the church (which we soon will visit) in 1812. He was was tried in the yellow building and flogged on the square. He wrote his best-selling memoirs in prison and was eventually released to a few years as a living legend and celebrity until he died in 1845.

*His real name was Lars Molin. Lasse-Maja was a humorous nickname because Lasse is male and Maja female.

My walk continued past this little block of houses:

They were built in 1998 but blend in so nicely with the historic buildings nearby; I think of townhouses of undetermined origin and heartily approve.

But then, as a contrast that just have to be on purpose, right next to the church, I came upon these houses...

Let's play: When were these houses built?

1. 1968
X. 1974
2. 1980

Gotcha! All answers were wrong! They were built in 2008. And people live there.

Luckily, I had reached my goal and headed for the church.

The weather was so extremely nice and I felt as if summer had just begun rather than the opposite: the trees were all still green, the flowers bloomed and the sun shone upon the grass and...

...the pyramid.

Right. No cemetery is complete without its pyramid. Or so thought countess Anna Sofia Gyllenborg, who chose to raise this monument as a last resting place for her and her husband, Olof Adlerberg, in 1757. An underground passage connects the pyramid to the chancel. The couple also donated valuable silver to the church (little knowing it would be the fall of Lasse-Maja sixty years later).

The church itself was first erected in the 1100s but got its current look in the 15th century. The baptismal font, still used today, is from the earlier church though, which makes it older than Stockholm! Both me and my sister were baptised here, probably our mother too.

Her grave is situated close to the western wall and the place has changed a lot since we buried her in June 2004. Then there were only a few graves here and there besides hers, and today the place is completely filled.

One thing was a little strange: The plot on her left soon got occupied, but not the one to her right. More and more plots were taken, but the one to the right was still vacant, month after month that turned into years... Then my step father suddenly got very ill and died. It wasn't very hard to determine where he was going to lie.

Now, on a more personal note: my mother used to talk about where and how she wanted to be buried, how she wanted her funeral to be and so on, long before she knew she was ill. I used to be angry with her because I hated to think that she was going to die one day, but later I was very grateful.

Even in the shock and grief that followed her death, I smiled when my sister and I arranged the details according to her wishes (which she of course only had mentioned knowing they would make the oh-so-hard but oh-so-necessary arrangements easier on us. I just didn't realise it then).

She even told us how she wanted her grave marker to look!

She wanted an old-fashioned iron cross that was typical in parts of this country for several hundred years. They varied from smithy to smithy, but usually had more than one bar, and hanging ornaments. The most common was stylised leaves but my mother - always a hippie at heart! - told us she wanted stars and moons!

So starts and moons she got. I found a smithy in the province of Värmland (where my mother had her roots) that has made these crosses for three generations with traditional methods.

We are very happy with it and it amuses me to notice that my mother became a trend setter even after her death. Five years ago there was not one cross of this type on the graveyard; now I see a new one every time I visit.

It's with mixed feelings I go to my mother's grave, but today - thanks to the wonderful, wonderful weather - I felt pretty good.

And then I went to see my sister, who was very happy to see me!

Now, go and hug a dear one and I promise a sewing-related post will appear at this space tomorrow!


  1. Seems like sisters all over the world are the same then....Your mothers marker is very beautiful and I can imagine why others would choose the same. Something very ethereal about it.

    Those houses....my guess was 2009 actually only because that could be anywhere in Australia. Those boxy minimalist structures are all the rage here right now, except in delightful concrete!

  2. Gawd, they're ugly! Didn't they learn anything in the 70's? I suppose they're cheap, and cheap living space is always a good thing, but... Brown? Like REALLY brown, piercing brown! No excuse. None.

  3. What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your trip.

    Your mother's marker is lovely - I can almost imagine the dangly bits making a jangly noise in the wind. I don't blame other people for copying!

  4. ... Oh, and I love that pyramid! More churchyards need pyramids.

  5. Vilket fint inlägg du har skrivit och din mor känner sig säkert tacksam, både för arrangerandet av begravningen och dina ord här. Du är en god dotter.

    Sedan angående de där husen från 2008. De är verkligen mycket fula! Ska man skratta eller gråta?

  6. Thanks for your comments, ladies! :)

  7. Alltså regarding those houses from 2008. De är SVINDYRA!!!!!! Dyra att bygga och dyra att köpa. Hur sjukt är det? Det har buggts såna i Jakan borta där sommarstugorna fanns, i berghem du vet. Det är ju samma stil som hammarby sjöstad! Stöööört