“I always have the sorrow in me, but it doesn’t destroy me,” says Unni, whose daughter died on Utøya

28. listopad 2023

“When it happened, I decided that I had to work with the trauma and the sorrow in a very positive way. I didn’t want to run away from the hurt. I wanted to stride into the hurt. That has been my way,” reveals Unni, mother of Andrine, who was just 16 years old in 2011. Andrine left with her friends for the summer camp on Utøya island. She never came back.

Unni s dcerou

“I often think about my life as a house. On the 22 July, the house was completely broken. All the years after, I have rebuilt the house. Some things I wanted to preserve, to carry with me, but there are also many new things in the house. There are many rooms, and there is one room that is only about Andrine and me,” explains Unni. Rebuilding her imaginary house was far from easy. She needed to find out who she was in her new reality. Everyday practices helped her face unforeseeable challenges. “For example, shopping was very difficult, because that was something Andrine and I often did together. Making food was very difficult for a while. I suddenly had to make food for two, yet I was used to cooking for three. I learned to listen to Andrine’s music, so that if I heard it in a shop or on the radio, I would be prepared not to cry,” she adds.

Čtěte také

On 22 July, 2011, a total of 69 young people from all over Norway were killed on Utøya island. In the area where Unni lives, there are other families who lost their children that day. They regularly meet for dinner and spend vacations together. “I don’t think people can understand, they would have to live in my shoes. But there are some people who know. The parents who experienced the same. We spend a lot of time together. And it’s so good, because we can just be ourselves. We laugh a lot,” Unni shares.

Despite all this, Unni admits that she carries her sorrow with her always. “But it does not destroy anything in my life,” she says. And she notes a piece of advice that helped her: “I think it is very important to talk about how we feel. You might worry that people don’t want to hear it. But my experience is that when you talk, people will support you. When you share your thoughts, it will get better.

What was Andrine like? What helped Unni cope with the loss of her youngest daughter? And can such a deep sorrow from an unexpected loss ever go away? This and more on Episode 5 of the seven-part podcast series Surviving Utøya and Oslo.

autoři: Lukáš Houdek , Tereza Jirásková
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