To Susanne and Petter on their wedding day 2012-09-15
A wedding is perhaps one of the most beautiful aspects of our culture – the celebration of love in one of its finest forms.. This is true about weddings where¨ever they are, but to me it is especially true about a Swedish wedding, and especially true about this one.
I come from a country with slightly different wedding traditions - It is also beautiful in its own way - but I don't think anything can come up to the incredibly beautiful meaning in what such a Swedish wedding as this one expresses.
In Canada, a wedding most often was the start signal to life as a family - and this is wonderful and beautiful - but often one of the major functions was simply to create social acceptance for living together as a couple. Of course, as well, it most often expressed commitment and the hope of love and fidelity - It is not my intention to in any way diminish the beauty of the wedding culture I grew up with - but somehow there is an entirely different magnitude of meaning in a wedding like this one.
This wedding, after years of living together, is the product of a proven love and affection for each other - love that has proven to work!! It is the ultimate expression of the absolute finest that life can give (and has given). Two people in their very best years - two people who have struggled for, reached toward, and fullfilled a major part of their childhood dreams together - who have attained and surpassed many of the goals they had from youth - established a wonderful family and home - have overcome the inevitable dark and painful days that all relationship inevitably sometimes contain - and then looked at each other and said "We love each other and we're proud of it! Lets get married! We'll invite our friends - . and together with them, celebrate the wonderful things that we have found in each other.
Is there anything more beautiful? There are a few real highlights in life– this is one of them for us all-
I think it's so wonderful to see your children having the privlage of experiencing their parents' affection for each other celebrated as it is today. A few hours ago , not far from here I saw one of the most beautiful things I have seen in a long time. Two teenage girls in their prettiest dresses, sitting side by side, by themselves on the front row of a quaint little country church - attentively and happily watching as their mom and dad expressed their love and commitment to each other.
I was told by an old man a number of years ago, that the greatest thing that a father can do for his children is to love their mother. Your kids have a dad like this – so did I.
This summer it was 22 years ago since Mireille and I were married. I remember that there were a number of promises in connection with this and I signed some pappers – Sorry to say, I don't remember exactly what they were. However I have made a number of promises since then -- some of them only within my self, some of them shared together. I would like to share one of them with you.
My dad passed away a few years ago, and one of my silent promises to my wife and family, I made on a visit to see him just previous to his passing. He was 91 years old - The last months of his life, he wasn't able to live at home with mom .. and this was very difficult for him to accept after living together with her for over 60 years.
The last memory I have of him was just the evening before I was to return to Sweden again after a 2 weeks' visit - Mom and I lifted him into his bed after spending an afternoon visiting and moving around the care home in his wheelchair - When mom leaned over him to tell him we were going home he was so tired he could hardly open his eyes - his hand got caught in the blankets - and he could hardly lift his head off the pillow -- all he could manage was to pucker his lips for a goodnight kiss. I can still hear the muffled smack and see moms fingers as she squeezed his thumb. This was what was most important for him with the very last strength he had that day