Ingrid – February 11, 2019

Last week, I told you about the book I bought for Farfar, Kierkegaard’s Works of Love, when I was visiting my brother in Seattle. Yesterday, I brought it to Farfar at The Danish Home. He was familiar with the book by the famous Danish philosopher but hadn’t yet read it. He began to delve into it as soon as he opened it.

As I expected, being written by Kierkegaard, the book is some deep stuff. But it isn’t over Farfar’s still-sharp head, and we talked a little about these writings from 1847. One of Kierkegaard’s messages in this book is that love abides.

Among other writings, Danish philosopher and theologian Søren Kierkegaard penned Works of Love.

How perfect, especially for Valentine’s Day, when we celebrate love in all its forms. Webster’s dictionary defines the word “abide” as to bear patiently; to tolerate; to withstand; to await.

Waiting is how Farfar describes his deep love for his late wife, Sigrid, who died in 1992. He has lived 17 years now without her, and while he is living life to the fullest with friends at The Danish Home, he misses her dearly and fully expects to see her again one day.

“Sigrid and I had a great love,” said Farfar, his blue eyes far away and misting over. “We met when we were just teenagers.” A woman near us in the gathering room at The Danish Home overheard our conversation. She was visiting with residents, too.

I had a crush on my husband since he was eight years old,” she said in reference to the man she married some years later. She joined us in our conversation, telling us that she and her late husband grew up together and spent much of their childhoods doing things at The Danish Home, like attending the annual picnic and other events. Later, her husband became the chairman of both the Danish Home board and the trustees. He was also a resident at The Danish Home.

Another woman named Elaine overheard us and scooted her chair up to our table. “Are we talking about love?” she asked. Elaine is a new resident of The Danish Home who moved from the lover’s paradise of Hawaii, where she spent most of her life with her late husband, a man with whom she is clearly still in love. “Ole was just a customer paying his bills at the town hall where I worked when I met him,” she said. “We were a great team; we did everything together. He was a genius!” Then she called to another resident, “Danuta! Come on over here!”

The love of The Danish Home resident Elaine Jensen’s life was her beloved husband Ole, who owned a famous sausage shop in Chicago.

A kindly woman whose smile could light up the gloomiest day, Danuta happily joined us. “We’re talking about our Valentines,” Farfar said, with a twinkle in his eye.

“I had the best Valentine of all,” Danuta said. “My favorite thing to make him on Valentine’s Day was smørrebrød with rhubarb sauce and pork belly braised in cherries.”

The Danish Home residents Leif Nielsen (a former Danish Home administrator for 25 years) and his wife Diana recently celebrated 50 years of marriage and traveled to St. Croix, where they met and lived.

“You know, there’s a couple here who just celebrated their 50th anniversary and went back to the place they met to celebrate,” said Farfar. “Leif and Diana Nielsen met in St. Croix. He was the administrator at The Danish Home for 25 years.”

At the age of 30, I am beginning to hear the clock tick a little, as I have no serious significant other. I treasure my freedom, and I have wonderful friends and family whom I love beyond measure, but it would be nice to have a really “special someone” in my life. I’m growing very weary of the dating site scene, too!

“We didn’t have all that when I was young,” Farfar said.

“But there are dating sites for seniors now,” I told him. He gave me a look, then giggled a bit.

Like Farfar, people often snicker at the thought of seniors dating or finding love and romance. But research claims that human beings are never too old to enjoy a happy and healthy love life, especially as people are living longer than ever.

“There was only one woman for me,” Farfar said. “But you, young lady, need to get out there and get yourself a Valentine!”