This is my portion of the eulogies written for my dad, Kjeld Oddvar Husebye, born August 11, 1925 and died January 2, 2015, after a very long struggle with cancer.
It was just after Thanksgiving, this past year. I was over at their apartment for a visit. Mom was in another room and Dad mentioned, pretty much out of the blue,
“You know, your mother still has that spark—the same spark she had when I first met her.”
I wasn’t sure if he was talking about the very first time they’d met. It was on a small island (Langaare) near Oslo, Norway. She remembers him as one of the show-off-ie 18-year-old boys who kicked the soccer ball far too hard. She subsequently decided that she didn’t like soccer.
He remembered her—she was 11 at the time—as this…sea nymph, rising up out of the fjord, water streaming over her face and through her hair. He’d thought she was the most beautiful girl he’d ever seen. It could’ve been then.
Or maybe it was a decade or so later, when she was both date-able and marriage-able. And they did do just that! But I suspect it was both times and (as Dad had remarked) throughout their nearly 60 years together.
Let’s roll forward to Christmas day, a few short weeks ago.
My young adult kids—Dan and Julia—and I were over at my parents’ apartment for dinner. Mom had been cooking, Dan and Julia helping with meal preparations and honing their expertise in the secret to perfect gravy. We were all waiting for the pork roast and potatoes to finish, and we were bathed in the rich scents of a traditional Christmas dinner.
The kids were sitting on the couch, laughing and talking about college, their friends, and their futures. Mom was sitting to their right in her rocking chair, listening and asking questions, and enjoying the grandkids. Dad was quiet, to their left and in his chair by the windows, and I was across from them watching Dad watching Mom.
The look on his face was one of tenderness, love…and amazement and wonder. Clearly, he was seeing the same spark, the same beautiful face that he decided he would wake up to everyday, and that would be the last thing he saw before he closed his eyes. And so, I think he was considering what a lucky man he was–what a good, fine and fortunate life he’d had.
Liz Husebye Hartmann (January 10, 2015)