A tribute to my Swedish Grandmother Agnes on Swedish Mother's Day

Mother’s Day (in Sweden)

It’s Mother’s Day here in Sweden. So many great tributes from loving daughters and sons to celebrate their mothers. I can’t help but feel a little blue on a day like this.

My Swedish mother was never really my mother. Biologically, yes. But not much more than that. When so many friends congratulate their mothers, all I feel are the jumbled emotions of emptiness and anger. Emptiness because I can’t relate to the whole wonderful mother-child thing and anger from being assigned such a lemon of a mother.

But at some point during my brief self-pity session today, I remembered Agnes Andersson, my mother’s mother. A woman who was often more of a mother to me than she was my grandmother. She could be that too, but most of my memories of Grandma Agnes are from the many moments when she helped me understand what unconditional love was, which has ever since helped me accept and share love.

As unlucky as I remember feeling as a kid about having been dealt such a terrible mother, today I feel all the more fortunate to have at least had such a wonderful grandmother. Agnes was an amazingly strong woman with a beautiful, contagious smile and the most gentle, kind eyes. She also had great hair. Agnes laughed often and would never get angry at me. She obviously knew where I was coming from emotionally and decided that I wasn’t a lost cause. That I could learn to accept love and eventually give it away just as unconditionally as she did.

As one often does in hindsight, I am probably glorifying Agnes Andersson. So be it. But honestly, I have zero memories from my time with her that are anything but loving and joyous. No big surprise that I insisted on giving our daughter Elle her name.

In addition to what was certainly a tough life in the various farms she and my grandfather Eskil had in several areas of southwestern Sweden during the 1940s-1970s, Agnes also gave birth and raised four daughters. As far as I know, only Lillian is still alive. Be she excommunicated herself from the family a long, long time ago. Ce la vie.
So, today, I’ll raise my glass to Agnes Andersson. Grandmother, mother, and a generous, compassionate human being that gave me the greatest gift of all, love.