Finding Lagom

In early 2015, on a cold January day, my wife and I lost our third child. Every single moment since losing our son to today has been a search for peace amidst our heartache and loss.

Life is hard. It is rarely what we expect to be. If you had asked me 10 years ago if I could imagine being married and having four kids, the thought would have seemed too wild to be true. I certainly didn't expect to have to bury one of my own children. And certainly not before we even had a chance to meet him.

Since those early dark days, my heart has been revived time and again through photography. Capturing beauty and light, and sharing it with the world has helped me in some small way to express and reflect on our loss and finding beauty amidst the pain.

There are times I will find myself in tears staring at a beautiful picture. Someone stealing a rare and precious moment. It's like looking into a moment and hitting the Pause button. Something emerges through the lens that conveys a sense of timelessness and beauty. It's so easy and wonderful to get lost in a moment.

Getting lost is helpful. And healing. For a time.

But just like waves crashing the Pacific shore, so grief steals in again and again. Healing is an island, remote and temporary. Darkness is never far away.

Footsteps in the sand. Nehalem, OR.

Footsteps in the sand. Nehalem, OR.


This is the ebb and flow of life. Tragedy steals. Healing comes. Darkness retreats. Light floods.

Life goes on.

And on.

This year I came across the concept of lagom, something deeply instilled in the ethos of the Swedish people. These two snippets from a Slate Roads & Kingdoms article by Lola Akinmade Åkerström sum it up well:

Jörgen is making single cups of coffee on a mini press as we each wait silently in turn. The silence leaves me unsettled, almost feeling obliged to fill it with random chit-chat, a few words about the weather. I glance from silent guest to silent guest. Surely I can’t be the only one struck by this odd stillness?

In Sweden, stating the obvious seems unnecessary.


In the past weeks I have found this concept of lagom to be fascinating to my imagination. Both professionally and personally.

By trade I am a Senior Product Designer working at Opal. I work on software that helps brands tell their story. Approaching a complex design system with lots of functionality and intricacy, lagom has helped me make sense of complexity by seeking ruthlessly to promote harmony, balance, order and keeping things "understated" when at all possible.

Personally lagom has reminded me to seek ruthlessly for the beauty in this world and to capture it and preserve it. God has used it to pull me back from the edge of darkness and reminded me time and time again that all is not bad or lost in this world.

There is beauty to seen and enjoyed. There is light to be captured and displayed. There is life to be lived. And amidst all the chaos and tangle of life, there is something beautiful in finding lagom. Where everything has its right place. Stolen moments of rest and balance. Even a sense of peace.

The son that we lost has a beautiful middle name. Godfrey.  It means:

God's peace

Foamy surf on the rocks. Near Cannon Beach, OR.

Foamy surf on the rocks. Near Cannon Beach, OR.

Jonathan Simcoe
Futurist, with reservations. //////\


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