Birthday Memory of My Father-in-law...

Uploaded 17 Feb 2011 — 22 favorites
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© Andrea Petersen
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Photo license: © All rights reserved

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid...St John 14:27

My husband's father Anton Petersen who was an immigrant from Ribe, Denmark, moved to America when he was 19 years old. He would have turned 121 years old today on February 17, if he were still living..

The wedding picture insert was shot by a studio in 1926 of my husband's parents... They went on to have 11 children and my husband is the third to the youngest in the family...After my mother-in-law died in 1990, we had the original wedding picture restored by a wedding photographer who did that kind of thing and also got copies for other members of the family who were interested...

I shot the picture today of fog over our driveway to use as a background as I thought it made a good match for the background of the wedding picture...

In November of 1978 my father-in-law took his life by shooting himself in the
head with his own gun..It was a terrible shock and a loss to the family. Anyone who goes through this can relate to the horror of losing someone dear through suicide..Then about 19 years ago my husband's youngest brother who was 48 at the time killed himself in the same way. None of us will ever know why and it left everyone in grief...

Now, after all of these years I wished I would have asked my father-in-law more questions about his life in Denmark when he was alive.....Back at that time I was not so much into asking questions nor did I have a good camera for taking pictures...and I regret it.

I remember that he had a Danish flag that he was very proud of...and every once in awhile he would take it out and show us...One of those times my mother-in-law accidentally stepped on the flag that he spread out on the floor and he was quite annoyed)) His bark was worse than his bite... I knew he had a tender heart underneath and I always saw that side of him.. Both of my husband's parents are gone now but I have many good memories of them and it is those memories that I keep close to my heart.

23 responses

  • Joy B

    Joy B gave props (17 Feb 2011):

    WOW, what a story!

  • MªTeresa Barreda Royo

    MªTeresa Barreda Royo gave props (17 Feb 2011):

    Congratulations Andrea....!!!

  • Debbie Smartt

    Debbie Smartt gave props (17 Feb 2011):

    Thank you so much for sharing your story of love and life!

  • Sonia Adam Murray

    Sonia Adam Murray gave props (17 Feb 2011):

    A heart rendering story told with such insight my friend and the picture is wonderful, the background you chose is perfect!

  • Deborah Downes

    Deborah Downes gave props (18 Feb 2011):

    Yes, a deeply moving story told with tenderness, as well as wisdom. Such a beautiful tribute, Andrea. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Regenia Brabham

    Regenia Brabham gave props (18 Feb 2011):

    This is such a beautiful tribute. It is sad when those that we love are gone and I know I wish I had asked my grandmother more about her parents. My brother hung himself in 1989 Andrea. I miss him to this day.

  • Andrea Petersen

    Andrea Petersen said (18 Feb 2011):

    Thank you everyone...Yes, Regenia I know what you mean...My mother's mother lived with us after grandpa died when I was a child growing up
    and I wished I would have asked her more family questions also..She passed
    away when I was 18 years old. I so know the grief that you went through with
    losing your brother to suicide...It is a terrible loss and an empty void...Losing my younger brother through fire when he was 5 years old will be with me for
    the rest of my life.. When they are suddenly snatched away without warning
    is a shock but I feel they are with us in our daily walk with the Lord and we will see them again someday.

  • Heather Mellon

    Heather Mellon gave props (18 Feb 2011):

    Wonderful portrait of such a fine looking couple!!! A very moving tribute to your late father-in-law, Andrea. I know the pain and anguish of losing a family member to suicide too, as I lost a brother this way too. The pain of such a loss never really leaves you..

  • Andrea Petersen

    Andrea Petersen said (18 Feb 2011):

    Heather, I am sorry about your brother also and you are right the loss never
    really leaves you and it is such an unexpected shock. My heart goes out
    to you and to all families that go through this kind of experience...

  • Thad Zajdowicz

    Thad Zajdowicz gave props (18 Feb 2011):

    Powerful story and lovely photo, Andrea.

  • Shirley Valencia

    Shirley Valencia   said (19 Feb 2011):


  • elfriede fulda

    elfriede fulda (Deleted) gave props (19 Feb 2011):

    this is very beautiful,,sad in many ways,,thank you for sharing this Andrea

  • Ann Reece

    Ann Reece   gave props (19 Feb 2011):

    Andrea, this photo is beautiful!!! And your layering job with the foggy background is perfect for it!!! Suicide has touched our family also, my husbands brother shot himself in 1986. No one knows for sure why either. One of my dad's brothers also shot himself. The family suspected that he had cancer and no insurance and that he didn't want to be a burden to his wife and kids. Still, it is a tragedy to loose loved ones like this and like your little brother to die in that fire. So tragic and things that families never get over.

  • Andrea Petersen

    Andrea Petersen said (19 Feb 2011):

    Thank you Ann for nominating this picture to be voted on...Suicide seems to run in many families and it is tragic. Two years ago a cousin's husband shot himself to death...He had cancer of the lungs and I guess he got tired of living...Death when it is expected is hard enough to bear but no one is ever prepared for the shock of death caused by suicides when there is no
    chance to say goodbye and life is snatched away so instantly. I am sorry
    for your loss also, Ann....

  • Ronnie Ginnever

    Ronnie Ginnever gave props (20 Feb 2011):

    So nice and love the reflections of the trees.

  • Richard Knight

    Richard Knight gave props (20 Feb 2011):

    Lovely rememberance, heart-rending story. I was a claims officer for two large insurance companies for a total of seven years. There is a vast collection of data on suicides. Based on statistical evidence, white men over 65 who have (a) serious health issues (b) financial issues (c) legal issues and/or (d) domestic (loss of wife) issues are most at risk. Elderly men with chronic back conditions are at high risk. There are many suicides during the Christmas and New Year's holidays. There probably is a genetic predisposition, if not for suicide per se, then certainly for depression. In the last thirty years, suicides among the young has increased exponentially, much of it induced by drug addictions and hopelessness. Thank you for not forgetting this gentleman.

  • Andrea Petersen

    Andrea Petersen said (20 Feb 2011):

    Thank you Richard for your valuable information..It is a sad situation but it happens more frequently than one could even imagine.

  • Leslie Hunziker

    Leslie Hunziker   gave props (21 Feb 2011):

    beautiful tribute and photo, Andrea!

  • Saroj Swain

    Saroj Swain gave props (22 Feb 2011):

    beautiful !!!

  • Judy and Wayne Wanamaker

    Judy and Wayne Wanamaker gave props (23 Feb 2011):

    A wonderful tribute to your father in law! The restoration of this picture is really fabulous. Suicide is always hard to understand, and it leaves the family wondering what could have gone wrong. There are no satisfactory answers. This is a great story and your work is fabulous, Andrea!

  • Michael Ball

    Michael Ball gave props (26 Feb 2011):

    Wonderful and moving tribute!

  • Steven Schutz

    Steven Schutz gave props (16 Mar 2011):

    A truly womderful photograph and remarkable story...i like the background to this image.

  • David de London

    David de London gave props (23 Jun 2016):

    Thanks for sharing the story.

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