Rune Westlund (1921 – 2021). I Knew A Good Man.

By Adeola Aderounmu

There are not so many people in the world today or even in old times who would open their doors for others to come in. It is not a matter of whether one is a stranger or not. Opening of doors to others is not even a family matter. People have locked out friends and strangers alike. For various reasons, people close their doors and lives to family members. People are strange. We are strange.

So, when a person willfully opens his/her door to help you accomplished a task or reach your goals, it is not just a matter of flesh and blood, it is the best of humanity. It is a feeling that you cannot describe or quantify. It is something that should boost the quality of your thoughts and move them in a positive direction, permanently.

Rune was a man with a good heart and a clear conscience. He was a symbol of harmony and dedication

Breaking a chain of kindness can bring non-visible pains as well as emotional distress to those who really have flesh, bones and hearts. Breaking the chains of paying (good deeds) forward can bring unhappiness or a feeling of unfulfillment. You break the chain already when you lack appreciation. You break it when you close your door and heart to others even when you could have sustained it or pay it forward. Indeed, humans are plagued with insecurities and broken chains of goodwill. We are!

I am not qualified to write the tributes of a man who lived for almost 100 years. I can only pay my respect. Rune Westlund was a man who opened his doors and life to as many as he could possibly do. He would have been 100 years old today (12 December). Rune was born in Stockholm in 1921. He left us, peacefully, on 26 April 2021 after a brief illness. His burial took place at Kanalkrykan in Sandviken, a place where he spent his working life and nurtured his family. A few people are worth celebrating, even in death. Rune stood out amongst them. I am paying him this respect as a way of celebrating his life and all the indelible marks he left behind.

I knew Rune for about 17 years. His kindness and thoughtfulness ensured that he became one of those who impacted my life. It added to the list of the people who previously influenced my choices in life: my parents, my teachers, and a few good people. Rune was the great-grandfather of my 2 wonderful daughters. He was the same to a handful others. If you are looking for exemplary, selfless life, he lived one. He was an accomplished man who left us a year after Smith & Tell sang that 2020 was the Year Of The Young.  Even 2021 turned out to be another year of the young.

Almost invariably, we always feel sad when our loved ones leave us even if they had grown very old. But sometimes we ought to focus on the quality of their lives too and the impact they made to humanity. In addition, we ought to reflect on the roles we played when they were with us. How much time did we spend with them and how well did we influence the things that were within our capabilities to do? A lot of people would find genuine or residual happiness if they focused on the outstanding quality of lives that their loved ones experienced and the positive values they added to humanity.

Rune was a man with a good heart and a clear conscience. Until his last days, his mind was alert and his memories never depreciated in worth. I will not tell you how, but he was ingenious. Okay, I’ll tell you: he kept the ones he loved close to his heart. Rune was never out of words to describe things and events. There was almost nothing he forgot. Throughout life and in all seasons, he trained his mind to remember the things that matter. He never forgot the birthdays of any member of the family.

He knew the dates when all his grandchildren and great-grand children were born. He read newspapers and followed current affairs. He could discuss politics at top level, and he never shied away from our discussions on sports. The value or worth of our memories can never depreciate if the people we love are always in our hearts and if we apply our heart to good deeds. We often neglect the need to overcome our shortcomings to find fulfilment and happiness. There are, of course, consequences for life’s choices.

Rune was a symbol of harmony and dedication. He was contented and happy. He was always calm and jovial. Faced by the inevitable, the end of all mortals, he never lost it. For a man who lost his wife Anita to cancer in 2008, he carried on gracefully and kept fond memories of her. In their lifetime, Rune and Anita were also parents to some other people they never met in real life. Regularly, they sent monies that ensured that some children in faraway places on earth had food on their tables and got educated. As if that was not sufficient, they opened their doors to receive and welcome immigrants in Gävle/Sandviken area of Sweden. In their home, immigrants learned a new language, they learned to cook and bake. They found a dependable base to seek happiness and hope for the future.

Rune was aptly described by his children as a man with great generosity, empathy, and strong integrity. He had a great sense of humor and presence. When the sun went through the windows and shone on his casket, it was an affirmation that he was a good man who deserved to rest in glory. Rune is survived by children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

I knew a good man. His name was Rune Westlund. He’s resting, in peace.

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