My grandmother Maja’s favorite story was telling me about assisting at the amputation of a soldier’s leg during nursing training in Sweden after WWI. Imagine my encountering a military museum surgery display in Harnasond Sweden depicting that same scene? Shock.
Maja’s rite of passage story told in detail in my book, My Maja A Grandson’s Tribute explains how at age 20,Maja called into question her Swedish culture, traditions, ancestry. “It Is is one thing, she said in childhood to hear glowing stories of ancestors and yet another to prove oneself by actions speaking, “louder than words “. “Holding that leg during surgery was a big test”, said Maja. That impressive brave grandparent story has helped Inspire and shape my life.
How goes tradition and ancestry help shape our lives?
My mother was so terribly proud of her Swedish roots. These women pictured each strive to live up to what they believe are high standards of being a Swede. The monthly meetings, sending young girls to Swedish camp connected the joy that felt for their nationality and heritage.
While I could not personally relate to my mom’s growing up in Sweden, or Grandma Maja either, they conveyed a spiritual magical affection that was contagious.
Genealogy can be reduced to DNA tests. Genealogy can link to photo of long lost relatives and working to build a family tree on paper.
Both Maja and my mom told stories about how those who lived by Swedish Culture and tradition valued character. Swedish Character as they described it connects to a desire to add the legacy story of one’s life in a way that is worthy to stand with others who have lived previously and left behind stories and exemplary conduct.
Grandma Maja and my mother had a soft heart of compassion especially for persons they called, “down on their luck”. They each explained why they chose to go out of their way to offer a helping hand. They each explained how belonging to organizations like, The Linnea Aid Society, Salvation Army, Dorcas Society express a tradition that relates back to Sweden and the example of ancestry traditions.
It is so fulfilling to read a newspaper tribute written on behalf of one’s great grandparent’s. Ida and August Källgren were well known in Sollefteå for sharing their wealth with kindness and support.