Maybe that wasn't the last letter home
From the archives, remembering that Christmas, my grandmother's last, when we met our Swedish relatives for the first time, over video chat.
Just when I thought my Sweden story was coming to an end, a new chapter began.
I’ve been retelling this ancestral origin story this week as I rest and recoup after our wedding, which included the family bible that my great-great grandmother, Karolina, brought over with her from Sweden when she immigrated in 1892.
I originally posted this story on The Feminist Kitchen on January 14, 2017, when it was a Wordpress blog and a side project.
And my grandmother had entered her last year.
By the end of that year, we’d know my dad’s life would be cut short, too.
When I think about all the growth that came from this seed of an experience — traveling to Sweden and then connecting with very long lost relatives — it stirs up my grief for what I’ve lost in the process.
A few weeks before Christmas, I received an email from a man named Ronney.
He's a genealogist-loving Swede who had picked up on my family tree in a genealogy forum set up by people who do this transatlantic ancestry work like a full-time job.
Ronney recognized my ancestor's name as the younger sister of his wife's great-grandmother, who was also from outside Visby.
I had to read the email a few times to understand that he was giving not only me, but every member of my family: A living branch of the historical family tree.
I let the news soak in for a few days and concocted a plan. When we were visiting my family in Missouri for the holidays, I could surprise my family with a video chat with these new relatives.
Ronney and I set it up. 1 p.m. December 28. Facebook. Be there or eat lutefisk.
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