A Danish message for Mormor

Second anniversary of Karen's death
A Danish message for Mormor
Apr 15, 2020 • By Joshua Cohen
Josh, Karen, Alan and Katrina visiting Cressing Temple in Essex for Karen’s 92nd birthday

During the last months of Karen’s life, I applied for a job at Aarhus University. Several months after she died, I was awarded the job and more than one person made the joke that Karen must have had a hand in this from the beyond. I’m not sure what I believe about life after death, but if anyone could have convinced the powers in that place to look kindly on my fate, then Karen would have been that person. She once told me that the skill of managing people was convincing them that they are doing what you want because they want to do it! In a very sweet way, she certainly had this skill.

November 2018 I moved to Aarhus, a city that is home to many Danish relatives from my Mormor’s (mother’s mother’s) side of the family and it’s been a wonderful chance to get to know cousins, aunts and others and to get to learn a bit more about Danmark. Before the pandemic set in, this included taking Danish lessons, and it is quite lovely how close it makes me feel to Mormor when I listen to and (very imperfectly) understand, speak and write Danish. The language’s very particular, soft and melting sounds remind me of times that mormor would speak Danish to the many, many friends and relatives who would come to visit over the years. Even when her hearing had almost completely gone, and she would rarely catch the English I spoke to her, she was somehow able to converse fluently in Danish, her mother tongue. So a little message in my terrible Danish to Karen Finch, my Mormor, to mark two years since she left us.

Kære Mormor, jeg savner dig og Morfar. Jeg håber, at i har det godt og at gud ved godt hvem rigtig er chefen deroppe. (Dear Mormor, I miss you and granddad. I hope that you’re well and that God understands who is really the boss up there).

Joshua Cohen