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Whiskey BreakfastMy Swedish Family, My American Life$
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Richard C. Lindberg

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816646845

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816646845.001.0001

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A Wayne King Lullaby

A Wayne King Lullaby

(p.277) 19 A Wayne King Lullaby
Whiskey Breakfast

Richard C. Lindberg

University of Minnesota Press

In this chapter, the author, a first-generation Swedish American, reflects on the death of his mother, Helen Lindberg. Helen was a bitter and disappointed soul who built impenetrable walls to seal off any chance at long-lasting happiness. She lived another thirty-seven years following her final separation from her husband, Oscar Waldemar Lindberg, in 1955, but the second half of her life was a slow, measurable suicide. Her false threat of suicide was a guilt-inflicting cudgel she wielded with brutal effect. Having exhausted her life savings paying for her mother Emma Stone’s upkeep in a nursing home in suburban Niles in Chicago, Helen was destitute for the remainder of her life, subsisting on a monthly Social Security check that barely covered food and utilities. Her past, the life she chose to dwell in, was gone, and her deterioration was slow and deliberate, until a diabetic stroke in February 1992 brought it all to an end. When she died, the author did not cry. He could not; he was filled with the terrible defaulting emotion of self-inflicted guilt.

Keywords:   death, Helen Lindberg, Oscar Waldemar Lindberg, Emma Stone, Chicago, diabetic stroke

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