(Some Widows) Wear Black

Grandma Maja on the Ship from Sweden to Amerika with Linnea Youngest of Three Children

Maja Wittenstrom needed to recover quickly from the sudden heart attack death of her young husband, Carl Oscar, June 1932.

She packed up the 3 kids and in her grief returned home to Sollefteå Sweden to be consoled and plan the rest of her life as a widow, single mom. She had to decide if she would remain in Sweden after an 8 month grieving time away. She and her kids were now American citizens. The funeral was over, the Great Depression killed the family business in Chicago. She wore black which was the custom of the day.

Arriving in New York and a long train ride with three little ones, she arrived back in Chicago where she had met her husband in 1922 while on an adventure to explore American prosperity she had heard so much about.

She visited the local clothing store and traded her black clothes for all white nurse’s uniforms. Her time of grieving was over.

Young Maja in Sollefteå Sweden in Nurse’s Training 1919

Maja converted her upstairs rooms of the house purchased with life insurance money and became a keeper of a boarding house when not doing 12-18 hour home nursing for wealthy Chicagoans mending at home.

Thus began her war against the Great Depression that would severely test her mental and physical stamina.

Maja’s book will provide details of her resourcefulness rallying every bit of her training and preparations to survive the logjams that she faced.


Citation For Below Reference

Can wearing black truly help a grieving person?

“Wearing black is more than a tradition, it serves a function. Whether we like the color choice or not, someone many years ago chose black as the color to represent mourning. The purpose of mourning is to let people know that you have lost someone close to you, and are experiencing grief from that loss. It is a reminder to others of what you’re experiencing. It is even more important today than a century ago, as today’s society is even more disconnected from each other. We don’t know our neighbors or what’s happening in their life. How can we support them if we don’t even know what’s going on? So, can wearing black truly help a grieving person? Yes, it can. It acts as a symbol, an identifier, a frame of reference so that others can know a person is grieving, so they can come forward and provide support, or even just give a little extra grace when they see the grieving person is struggling to make it through the day. Does it have to be a full length dress? No, there are many modern mourning options available. Just find the one that suits you, and wear it so you can get the full benefits that mourning produces.”

Published by Donnie: An Admiring Grandson

Living an inspired life modeled after my Grandma Maja, who stepped up as a Swedish immigrant widow and mom of 3, facing America’s Great Depression while demonstrating uncommon grit and valor. I am determined to share her life lessons so she is no longer forgotten. I have a book to share and the reader will preview the entire story by visiting here. You are most welcome.

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