Category Archives: family


I have today attended my uncle’s funeral.  I’m not entirely clear on the details of his illness (and in any case, it’s not mine to share), but he seems to have gone very rapidly from good health to dead.

Both the service and the meal afterwards were big affairs, with over 100 mourners headed by his immediate family.  The service was Lutheran, and the less said about it, the better.  The meal was more inspiring, in that several people who had known him well had things to say.  I knew some of what they said, but much of it was new to me and showed sides of him I hadn’t really known.  In retrospect, he was the contact I really should have gone to for advice around the end of last century, when I had some of my best ideas but failed to make them into a workable business.

I’m still in Sweden for it, and have been revisiting some of the places and people I first knew when I lived here as a child and in summer holiday (and work) visits through my teens, but have not revisited for many, many years.  One of those people being my aunt, who has featured before in this blog and who chided me for my recent lack of activity here.  That part of my visit has been a huge pleasure, and tomorrow I’m taking time out to enjoy the forest and lake before heading home on Friday.  Sadly the hotel – the only one in town – is a let-down: I think one needs to have transport and stay out-of-town.

RIP Gunnar Magnusson.  The last of his generation of my late mother’s bloodline.

RIP Ragnhild Kew

My mother died on Sunday.  She lost her battle with cancer, and with the treatment that was at times worse than the disease.  She leaves behind many friends and relatives, amongst whom special mention must go to my father, whose recent life has been totally dominated by caring for her.  In the past several months as she got worse, that extended to my brother and myself taking turns in supporting him.  And an array of friends and neighbours who rallied around, as indeed she had done for others in her life.

I had returned home last week for the two concerts that were a major highlight of my calendar, and so it was that at the moment of her death, I was in the final rehearsal for the Stabat Mater :

Stabat mater dolorosa / juxta crucem lacrimosa / dum pendebat filius.

The story of the mother witnessing the cruel death of her son is not a perfect fit, but nevertheless seemed strangely appropriate.  Indeed, crucifixion would (by virtue of its relative brevity) have been an altogether less gruesome fate than the horrendous treatment she was on for the last few months.  Who would treat a domestic pet so cruelly as we do a dying person?

Requiescat in Pace.