Friday, April 30, 2010

What I wrote to the little angel (full version in English and Norwegian now!)

This is what I wrote to little Evy, and my husband read it in the funeral, while I was above the clouds somewhere....  

A LITTLE ANGEL FROM ABOVE

I knew about Evy long before she was born.  Her parents shared with me the great joy  that they were expecting another child; then the insecurity, because something seemed to be wrong,
and then the grief of knowing that their little girl probably wouldn't live.


During the following months, I read a lot about Trisomy 18, and after a while I knew that little Evy Kristine already had won many battles.  Most children with this extra chromosome die before birth, but Evy continued to grow in her mother's belly, until it was time to be born.


The day she entered the world, I couldn't think about anything else.  I hoped so intensely that she would live, that we all could get to know her.


I met her when she was one and a halv day old.  The beautiful, little girl was lying in her parents' arms, she was so tiny and precious, but also so weak and fragile, and my heart bled for her, and for her family.


Two days later I got to meet her again.  She was then an angel.


I've taken many pictures of Evy Kristine, both that Saturday in the hospital, and in her home.  This little child, the little girl who only got to spend three days among us, have touched me deeply, probably more than any human being.


She has shown me that life is incredibly great.  It is impossible to grasp for our small human brains.  What matter does it make if we live a day, a few months, some years or decades?  What counts is that we  are there for each other, and that somebody loves us.


Evy Kristne got to experience three sunrises, before she passed away and can wake up to eternal sunrise, happiness and Springtime.


I believe that every life has a meaning.  I think God knew Evy from the start,  and even if that may be hard for us to understand, I think there was a purpose of creating her exactly as she was.
I'm so grateful for the chance to get to know this little girl.  The world today is unfortunately sorting away people who don't fit into our definition of "perfect".  I don't think Humanity was ment to be like this.  We need also those among us who don't fulfill our notion of perfectness.  They may have hidden treasures of love and wisdom to teach us, and the world is poor without these messagers, these angels.


In Psalm 139, we can read this:


You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body

and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!

You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
 before a single day had passed.




I think Evy Kristine has achieved a lot in her short life.  She has shown her parents, her siblings, and the rest of us, that life is more than manmade measures.  We have to be reminded that we don't understand everything.

I've cried all my tears, and I've still continued to cry.  It's so sad, so painful, and I feel so very sorry for her family.

I don't think the grief will ever go away.  It may fade in the end, but then  come back, in waves, probably forever, but I hope her family can manage, little by little, to carry Evy Kristine with them, as a painful, but on the same time nostalgic and happy memory of that beautiful girl they got to know and who always will stay with them.

Now she is well, I feel that.  And, one day I'll see her again.

Rest in peace, little, beautiful Evy Kristine

From Kristine


EN LITEN GUDSENGEL

Jeg visste om Evy lenge før hun ble født.  Foreldrene hennes delte med meg den store gleden at de ventet et barn til;
deretter usikkerheten, fordi det så ut til at noe var galt; 
og så sorgen over å få vite at den lille jenta deres sannsynligvis ikke ville kunne leve.

I månedene som gikk, leste jeg mye om Trisomi 18, og jeg skjønte etter hvert at lille Evy Kristine allerede hadde vunnet mange slag.  De fleste barn som har dette ekstra kromosomet, dør før de blir født, men Evy Kristine vokste i mammas mage, helt til det ble på tide å bli født.

Den dagen hun kom til verden, klarte jeg ikke tenke på annet.  Jeg var så spent, håpet så inderlig at hun skulle leve, at vi alle skulle kunne bli kjent med henne.

Jeg fikk møte henne da hun var en og en halv dag gammel.  Den vakre, lille jenta, lå på mammas og pappas arm, hun var så bitteliten og nydelig, men så svak og skjør, og hjertet mitt blødde for henne, og for familien hennes.

To dager senere fikk jeg se henne igjen.  Da var hun blitt en engel.

Jeg har tatt mange bilder av Evy Kristine, både den lørdagen på Ullevål, og hjemme i stua hennes.  Dette lille barnet, den lille jenta som fikk knappe tre dager blant oss, har rørt meg voldsomt, sannsynligvis mer enn noe menneske har gjort.

Hun har vist meg at livet er uendelig stort.  Det er ubegripelig for våre små menneskehjerner.  Hva betyr det i den store sammenhengen om vi lever en dag, noen måneder, noen år eller tiår?  Det som teller er at vi er noe for hverandre og at noen er glad i oss.

Tre soloppganger fikk Evy Kristine oppleve, før hun sovnet inn og kan våkne opp til evig soloppgang, glede og vår.

Jeg tror at alle liv har en mening.  Jeg tror at Gud kjente Evy Kristine fra starten av, og selv om det for oss er umulig å skjønne, tror jeg også det var en mening med at hun var skapt slik hun var. 

Jeg er så takknemlig for at jeg fikk sjansen til å kjenne denne lille jenta.  Verden i dag er dessverre laget slik at mennesker ofte blir sortert bort, og bare de mest vellykkede og perfekte er ønsket i samfunnet.
Jeg tror ikke menneskeheten var planlagt slik.  Vi trenger også de som ikke oppfyller kravene til menneskelig perfekthet, jeg tror at nettopp disse menneskene  har skjulte skatter av livsvisdom og kjærlighet å lære oss andre, og verden blir et fattigere sted uten disse englene, disse sendebudene.


I salme 139 står det:

For du har skapt mitt indre,
du har vevd meg i mors liv.
Jeg takker deg fordi jeg er skapt
på skremmende, underfull vis.
Underfulle er dine verk,
det vet jeg så vel.
Mine ben var ikke skjult for deg
da jeg ble skapt i lønndom
og ble formet i jordens dyp.
Du så meg den gang jeg var et foster,
i din bok ble alt skrevet opp;
mine dager ble dannet
før en eneste av dem var kommet.

 Jeg tror Evy Kristine har utrettet mye i sitt korte liv.  Hun har vist foreldrene sine, søskenene sine, og oss som er rundt,  at livet er mer enn menneskeskapte målestokker.  Vi må minnes på at vi ikke forstår alt.

Jeg har grått meg tom for tårer, og enda har jeg fortsatt å gråte.  Det er så trist, så vondt, og jeg synes så synd på familien hennes.

Sorgen vil aldri bli borte, tror jeg.  Den vil kunne blekne omsider, men så komme tilbake, i bølger, sannsynligvis for alltid, men jeg håper familien hennes kan klare, litt etter litt, å bære Evy Kristine med seg som et sårt, men samtidig vemodig og godt minne om den nydelige jenta de fikk kjenne og som alltid vil være med dem. 

Nå har hun det godt, det kjenner jeg i meg.  Og en gang skal jeg se henne igjen.

Hvil i fred, lille, vakre Evy Kristine. 

Hilsen Kristine

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Funeral is over

Yesterday was Evy Kristine's funeral.  I wasn't there.  It was a hard decision to make, but plane tickets were bought a long time ago, for a photographic conference.  The parents knew how much I wanted to be with them that day.  I wrote a letter, and my husband read in the church.  There will be a transcript here on the blog.
When her tiny coffin was lowered in the earth, I was in the plane, looking down on clouds, crying my eyes out while listening to Josh Groban: To where you are.
The parents will just have to go on now, without her.  Now it's for real.

See earlier posts, from the last two weeks, for more information on little Evy and her short life on earth.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The girl who lived...

Evy Kristine is the name of  the little girl who lived for almost three days, and touched so many people's lives.  As I wrote some days ago, I took pictures of her body when she had become an angel.  Just in case, there might be somebody who don't want to see these photographs, I created a special page for them.  Click here if you want to see.
She looks like she's asleep, like the tiny, precious newborn she was.  And I'm crying again, writing this...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The little angel, alive in the hospital

These are pictures of the little girl who was born on April 15th and died on April 18th.  They are pictures I've taken as a gift to the family, and because of that I post them here and not on my photography blog.  Even if I'm not one of their photographers, I did this  in the spirit of NILMDTS.

Here she is a day old, resting in her parents' arms.









Thursday, April 22, 2010

In her parents' hands

I have a hard time blogging these days.  My friend's daughter was born a week ago today, and I took pictures of her in the hospital.  Then, she died only three days old, and I took pictures again, when they came home with that little angel...
Right now I'm very, very tired, and so sad because of this little girl who I just barely got to know.
I'll share just this one picture with you, for now, but there will be more.  My friends are fine with that.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

To lose a child - (Jag vil alltid älska)

A little girl died tonight, almost three days old. 
I got to see her yesterday and take pictures of her with her parents. 
She was beautiful, precious, and she was loved very, very much.
This song, written by Carola Häggkvist and Erik Hillestad, is about a newborn who dies.
Can it be anything more horrible than losing a child?  
"Your cradle became your grave..." 
It is sung by Carola, in Swedish.  The English translation is in the end of the post. 
I encourage you to read the lyrics before you listen to the song.
 
 
JAG VIL ALLTID ÄLSKA
by Carola Häggkvist and Erik Hillestad 
Ingen förstod vart Du blev av
men fast Din vagga är en grav
tror jag Du fann en öppen dörr
som barnen gör
Till rum med änglar att få se
dom lär Dig leka, ser Dig le
Åh - om jag kunde vara med!
Det är Dig jag älskar

Det är Dig jag älskar!
Och en gång skall tystnad
ge upp för sång
Då skall min tunga
få ny kraft att sjunga
att inte ett enda barn
fick förgäves liv nån gång

Ingen är vackrare än Du
för Du har himmelsk klädnad nu
Du som är mammas sorg och skatt
jag ber i natt
När Du hör vita vingars sus
be att två änglar tar ditt ljus
ner till min mardröms mörka hus
Jag vill alltid älska!

Jag skall aldrig glömma
Och en gång skall tystnad
få ge upp för sång
Då skall min tunga
få ny kraft att sjunga
att inte ett enda barn
fick förgäves liv nån gång

Bortom allt jag drömt
finns Du nånstans gömd
Aldrig blir Du glömd
Inte ett enda barn
fick förgäves liv nån gång

Det är Dig jag älskar
Det är Dig jag älskar
Och en gång skall tårar
få ge upp för sång
Då skall min tunga
få ny kraft att sjunga
att inte ett enda barn
får förgäves liv nån gång

Bortom allt jag drömt
finns Du nånstans gömd
Aldrig blir Du glömd
Inte ett enda barn
får förgäves liv nån gång

Jag vill alltid älska -
aldrig glömma -
jag vill alltid älska dig!

Inte ett enda barn
får förgäves liv nån gång

I WILL ALWAYS LOVE
Nobody understood where you went
but even though your cradle is a grave
I think you found an open door
like children do
Into rooms where you can see angels,
they let You play, see You smile
Ah - if  I could only be part of it!
It's You  I love.
It's You I love
And one day silence 
will give room to song
Then my voice will get
new strength to sing
that not one single child
ever had a life in vain.
Nobody is more beautiful than You
because You have heavenly dress now
You who are Mommy's grief and treasure
I pray tonight
When You hear the sound of white wings
ask two angels to take your light
down to my nightmare's dark night
I will always love!
I will never forget
And one day silence


will give room to song
Then my voice will get
new strength to sing
that not one single child
ever had a life in vain.
On the far side of everything I have dreamed
You exist hidden somewhere
You'll never be forgotten
Not one single child
ever have a life in vain.
I will always love -
never forget -
I will always love you!
Not one single child
ever have a life in vain.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Angels

The little girl is born, and she is still alive. I have promised to take pictures of her, but right now she needs help to get enough oxygen, and the parents want to wait a little. My camera stash is packed, and I'm standing by.
Here you can see other pictures of children with trisomy 13 and 18, taken by photographers who work without profit, to give the families beautiful memories of their precious little one. Some of the pictures are taken while the child is still alive, but not all of them...


Now I lay me down to sleep...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Eliot, 99 balloons and a little girl.

A friend of mine is giving birth right now, to a little girl with Trisomy 18, known as Edward's syndrome.
I just want to share this, a little video, made by the father of a child with the same syndrome.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Picture of the day: At the train station

This picture, taken in 2006,  is scanned from a slide, and it is the last in a series, a photographic story about a girl who carries with her a big, red suitcase.  Ending up at the railway station, she puts  the suitcase on the train who is about to leave, and watches as it disappears in the distance.   Then she turns around and smiles.
My then 10-year-old daughter is the model.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ten Tips to Save Money on your Family Food Budget

For all of you who would like to save some money on your family's food budget. I got these tips from the Six O' Clock Scramble.  They're worth taking a look at.

1. Americans spend some 50% of food dollars on out-of-home meals, snacks and beverages. This budget item, therefore, is the first area that can be cut way back. Cooking at home is almost always cheaper than going out to dinner, ordering takeout, or buying prepared foods-and healthier! Plan for a week of meals so you don't waste food. With an online meal planning service (like The Six O'Clock Scramble) you can have your meal planning and grocery lists automatically generated so you also don't waste time.

2. Stretch your budget by making a meal at the end of the week out of ingredients you haven't finished. (Omelets, quesadillas, stir-fries and pasta sauces are flexible options.)

3. Pack up leftovers (sometimes it helps to do this before serving the meal so you don't overeat!). Use them for lunches the next day, or freeze half for a future dinner. That way you get 2 meals in 1.

4. Use up food in your refrigerator and freezer. Many people are sitting on hundreds of dollars of food that they've forgotten is in their freezer. Defrost and use something each week. Make a list of what's in there and label and date the containers.

5. Use less meat! Cooking with non-meat proteins like beans, tofuand eggs is veryeconomical and healthy. You can often substitute boneless chicken for fresh fish in recipes, or use less expensive frozen fish and shrimp.

6. Frozen vegetables are inexpensive, as well as healthy, delicious and convenient. Frozen at their peak of freshness they are a healthy and economic alternative to fresh produce.

7. One timely tip for spring is to grow your own fresh herbs. It only takes about 10 minutes to plant a little herb garden in your yard or on your window sill or deck, so you can use your own crop instead of buying expensive herbs at the market. You can buy little pots of fresh herbs at garden stores for $2 - $3 each, which you can repot and use all season long. (That is about the same amount you would pay at your grocery store for a small packet of fresh herbs that doesn't last more than a week.)

8. Buy in bulk packages-many stores have super deals especially onmeat, chicken and fish-you can break up the large packages into 1 or 2 lb. packages before freezing them. Also, buy large bags of shredded cheese and freeze 1 lb. portions of them, or buy blocks of cheese and grate it yourself. Buy large containers of items like yogurt, applesauce, raisins and chips, instead of single serving sizes, and divide them into reusable containers yourself.

9. Stock up on staples, such as olive oil, rice, canned beans, canned tomatoes, chicken or vegetable broth, pasta, pasta sauce, frozen chopped spinach, frozen peas, onions, lemons, limes, salsa, balsamic vinegar, and nuts.

10. Buy food when it's on sale, especially non-perishables.

Monday, April 12, 2010

On the other side of the camera...

Well, this is a first for my blog.  A post with photographs of me.  I'm usually the one behind the camera, so this is sort of weird...  But, my husband wanted to be the photographer this weekend, and he did well! 
First pictures are taken downtown Oslo:





And the following pics are taken on the slanted roof of the Opera in Oslo:
(For more pictures of the Opera house, see here .)






Picture of the day: My then two-year-old


My daughter, then 2 1/2 years old.  Leeds, England. June 2006

Friday, April 9, 2010

April 9th in Norway

Today is the 70th anniversary for the start of WW2 in Norway.  April 9th 1940, German troups marched into Oslo and many other cities.  The king and his family fled, to England and the US, and so did the Government.  
During five years Norway was under Nazi rule, until the liberation on May 8th 1945.
This is not that long ago, really.  And I think it's important that we keep reminding ourselves that freedom is not to be taken for granted.   Nor is peace and friendship between people and between countries.  We have to keep teaching our children what happened, not to keep a grudge, but to be able to recognize certain dangers when and if they occur again.
Western Europe has been peaceful for a very long time now, and I hope it can stay this way.  I love to travel, to learn other languages, to absorb and adopt other cultures and traditions.  We need each other, we need all of us.
And, while savoring the peace and the freedom, keeping in mind that many, many countries dont't have this, and that we should never stop working and praying for them to be able to live their lives without fear, hunger and oppression. 

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Don't like sick people

The world should be very happy I didn't become a nurse, 
because I'm very, very bad with sick people.  
Coughing, nose-blowing, or going : "I'm sick, I guess I should have stayed home."  
-"Yes, you should!" I'm thinking to myself.  Germs don't have to be shared, do they?
When my kids come down with something, I have them stay in bed,
and when I've made sure they have what they need food/drink/blanket-wise, 
I'll interact as little as possible.  
Luckily for them, they're hardly ever sick, and that goes for my husband too.   Because Sick Husband, that is worse than anything... I just hate dealing with it.
So, I'm not good with sick people, that's a fact.  But I'm worse, ten times worse, when it comes to myself.  Yesterday I had two school kids staying home, burning with fever, headache, pale faces, and - now it's me...
Feeling less than great, not being able to get things done, feeling dizzy every time I try to get up, while my head is killing me, I beat myself up, for not staying healthy.  And while lying there without the brain function to do much more than write a mediocre blog post, I just hope it will be over soon.  (And it should, because in an hour my husband has a meeting at work, and I'm on my own with kids & house...)
 

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spring around the house

Spring is finally happening.  Well, yes it was snowing again yesterday, but it's warmer now, so every day some more of it is melting.
Our front yard is still like this:
We had a huge avalanche from our roof, so that pile of snow will probably stay for a while.
But, on the south side of the house it looks like this:



















The plum tree is still sleeping, 
and the same goes for my little rose bush.  
Around the stem of the plum tree 
there are tiny sprouts of 
something. Crocus, I think.




On the front lawn, I have a young birch tree.  When I started shoveling away the snow around it, suddenly this little guy poked his head up, almost as he was lying there, just underneath the surface, waiting for the snow to be cleared away.  I think he is a daffodil, but I'm not sure...





I guess I'll have to wait and see what he looks like!


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My Life in France

As you may have noticed, I mostly write about books in a positive way.  
Well, I guess that is because I really don't see the point in writing about a book that I didn't enjoy reading.
My Life in France by Julia Child, with Alex Prud'homme is a book that makes me want to move back to France.  There are so many things I recognize, remember, miss, even if I lived there in the 90's and not in the 50's like the author did.
A year ago I read Julie & Julia by Julie Powell.  I lived in Seattle then, and I was just hanging out in my favorite Barnes & Noble when my eyes fell on that cover.  Until that moment I had never heard about the phenomenon Julia Child.  Since I'm not American, but Norwegian,   I didn't know about her famous cookbook "Mastering the Art of French Cooking", and I didn't know she used to be a famous TV cook in the US.  
I loved Julie Powell's book, the whole concept was fascinating to me. (Cooking all the recipies in Julia Child's book during a year, and blogging about it.  The book is written after the project was over.)  Julia Child isn't more than a faint backround character in that book, and because of that, I thought it was strange that the movie Julie & Julia (which I haven't seen yet) apparently focuses a lot more on her than on Julie Powell and her challenge.  
Then I got "My Life in France" for Christmas, and now that I've read it, I totally understand the filmmakers.  Her story is just really important to fully understand what Julie Powell was doing.  I'll have to read Julie & Julia again, and I'll definitively watch the movie.
"My Life in France" follows Paul and Julia Child, newlyweds in the late 1940's, as they are settling in Paris.   Paul is working for the US government, and  Julia, who has never been in France before, is just "tagging along".  However, she falls in love with this country, it's people, way of living, and... it's cuisine.  She takes cooking classes, and there is no way back for her.  She has found her life's calling.
For me this was an instructive book.  I learned about this person, how she became "the" Julia Child for generations of Americans.  I love to learn, so this part of it was very fulfilling, but I guess the best part for me still was the diving into the French world, and especially the part where they arrive in France and settle in their Paris appartment.  It reminded me so much of my early days in France,  when we came driving down from the North, saw Paris from a distance, found our way through busy streets, and finally arriving in front of our new home, the tiny, old appartment, where we were going to live for the next five years.
I wish she was still alive.  It would have been so interesting to talk to her about things we have in common: La France,  living in Paris, how it feels to be twice the size of most French women... 




Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Snapshots

Here are some pictures from this Easter.   Mostly bad weather makes for lots of family time at home!





Egg coloring!

Big concentration

Beautiful colors

Chicks made by Samuel and Alma!

Easter Morning Egg hunt. First time that Jontatan was old enough to really get the point!

Another one!

All four kids with their catch!

One of many good Easter meals.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

HAPPY EASTER!


HAPPY EASTER!



The newborn baby chick is a wonderful symbol of Easter!  
The warm, fuzzy, living little thing just hatched from a hard, seemingly dead, egg shell...
To me it is a perfect symbol of the Easter Story, and also a perfect symbol of Life itself, waking up again, after the icy cold winter.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Picture of the day: Deposition by Raphael

This beautiful and emotional scene is painted by Raphael in 1507.  We see Christ, now dead, taken down from the cross.  Mary, his mother, is in the center of the painting, holding his hand and looking sick with grief. 
I saw this painting when I was in Rome last November.  It is upstairs in the small, but wonderful Galleria Borghese. 

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday Parade in Sicily

Three years ago I spent Easter in Palermo, Sicily.  I was all by myself in a city where I had never been before, something that was both thrilling and scary.  Good Friday it rained all day, and I wandered the streets  with my camera tucked in under my rain coat, taking it out just long enough to snap some pictures once in a while.  
What amazed be the most this day was the Good Friday parades.  They were all over town (and in every single city and village all over Sicily), and the participants kept walking for hours and hours.  Some were dressed as Roman soldiers, a little boy was Christ himself, and young men carried stretchers with life size sculptures of the dead Christ.  These stretchers were so heavy that they had to be about 40 men to every stretcher.  They were walking two and two holding around each other, to help support the weight. Funeral music was played by the marching bands, a slow, melancholic rhtytm, that made me think of the second Godfather movie.