That day everything went.

Dad's firm pulled its last.

Auxiliary manure and gravel were no longer ordered for the same model, and new trucks were never able to drive.

Mersu, bought from Germany, didn’t even get on the road until the company’s legend already ended in bankruptcy.

Kimmo Oksanen's happy childhood also ended that day.

The six-year-old boy could only watch from the side as cars, furniture, textiles, utensils - the whole home in Sysmä was sold piece by piece at a forced auction and carried or driven away.

It has occurred to the boy how pale the father looked at the time.

Mom just cried.

After the bankruptcy, Oksanen's family broke up, also concretely.

The sisters stayed in Sysma and continued school.

Kimmo, two big brothers and a father and mother moved to Heinola for rent.

The money was out, and the creditors wanted more all the time.

Evictions and constant changes became commonplace.

- Father's and mother's life went to the ass after bankruptcy.

They were left in debt for the rest of their lives.

It was a disaster for the whole family.

I'm thinking a lot about how it touched me, and how it continues to move in two with my daughter, Kimmo, 60, says.

The author, known as a journalist, reflects on the burden of the past in his recent and personal book The Shadow of the Father.

It’s an adult man’s account of a conflicting paternal relationship, an attempt to understand and break away.

It is also a very personal story, but there are many of them in Finland.

The childhood had to be dismantled and reassembled

While making the book, Kimmo remembered his father and mother for months, canned and built, sometimes cried and drank.

Sometimes the memories woke up in the middle of the night, and the words began to run away.

Then I had to settle on the machine and “turn on printing”.

Like dreams, words disappear if you don’t write them down right away.

- Apparently that trauma is still inside, and I will probably never leave.

I wanted to start figuring it out, dealing with my dad, mom, and myself.

I wanted to disassemble and assemble as much as I could.

To that end, we also had to return to the foundations in concrete terms.

Kimmo wrote his book at his grandparents' home, in his grandmother.

In 2004, he redeemed from his inheritance the “cross between a grandmother’s cottage and a lace villa” built by his grandfather, which is located in Sysmä, Päijät-Häme, in the village of Valittula.

It is no longer possible to return to the childhood home lost at the compulsory auction, but the grandmother still has the grandparents' furniture and belongings in their old places.


 I adored and respected my father above all else. ”

A father who disappeared to Helsinki

After the bankruptcy, Kimmo's father left for Helsinki as a bus driver.

He spent the night in huts for workers from the country and in Kämp.

The boy often got on driving trips.

Helsinki was enormously fascinating in the eyes of the peasant boy.

The best thing was when Dad took the lemonade.

Although going to the rugged duunari cabin was not always suitable for the little boys, the father could be trusted.

- Dad must have taken me with a sense of guilt.

Maybe he missed me.

He probably also noticed how I enjoyed it.

We were a bit like guys back then.

I no longer understand how I could then sit for eight hours on the bus.

- I adored and respected my father above all else.

My siblings were born within five years, and Dad was driving all the time.

I was an evening star.

Dad treated me really kindly and lovingly.

But the way it treated the mother went to hell.

Although the father had not read the man, he was verbally talented and intelligent.

He was also charismatic, and it was noticed.

In Helsinki, he did not always have to spend the night in the barren accommodation of the drivers.

Once, Dad took Kimmon too to meet his female friend.

It was impossible for the child to understand what the woman needed when the mother was waiting at home.

- My father escaped and disappeared to Helsinki.

The biggest reason was probably that he escaped the bailiffs, but that meant we didn’t reach him either.

Mom or our siblings had no idea what Dad was doing in Helsinki.

The reason was always “bad luck”

According to Kimmo, the events of his childhood are still reflected at least in how bad he has become with money.

- I have never had financial planning.

My spending is completely devoid of intelligence, that kind of hand-to-mouth living.

I dare not take out a loan or know how to plan.

The only sensible act in my economic history was to redeem Mummila.

The loss of a childhood home has etched in my mind.

I think if you invest in something, then soon it will be taken away and then even more will go.

- By the way, my life management has been in search throughout my childhood, adolescence and adulthood.

I can’t plan for the future, but I’m afraid of the future and the fact that things are going badly.


 I think if you invest in something, it will be taken away soon. ”

In his book, Kimmo reflects on how much character traits affect how we react to accidents.

What is all even in your own hands?

What is needed to still dare to hope and dream?

And can one be freed from negativity?

- In his father's mind, he never admitted that he was wrong, that he had made stupid choices.

He just blamed his fate and said he had always just had such bad luck.

If you constantly blame others, your neighbor, or God, you never have to take responsibility for yourself.

This is where Kimmo wants to stand out from his father.

- You should stay away from bitterness and sacrifice.

Still, I do it myself all the time.

That’s why in the book, I also ask myself that what the hell Kimmo, now grab yourself by the neck.

- It is much easier to throw responsibility for what you do outside of yourself than to be an optimist and take responsibility for yourself.

It’s easy to reef, to be a martyr and a pessimist.

The skill of quarreling was not learned

As a child or young man, Kimmo hardly challenged his father and his choices.

He was a kind and a little lonely child who fell silent and complied and did not rebel even in adolescence.

- I've never risen right against anyone.

I do not know how it is, I am fully kädetön to defend myself.

Demanding the father for the account would have been self-defense.

Similar behavior is also associated with my subsequent relationships.

I can’t defend, attack or argue on an equal footing with others.

As a child, Kimmo did well in football and was good at drawing, painting and writing.

He was lonely but good at many.

However, the atmosphere of the home haunted.

- I fled reality to something more beautiful and wiser.

As teenagers, I started reading Nietzsche, Kahlil Gibran, and some mystics.

I was not the young man who, at the age of 15, says direct words to his parents, slams the door shut and leaves for Helsinki.

- There must be a fear of losing.

If you say no to someone, it will disappear.

I was six years old when my father left.

As a child, I was probably afraid that if I told her something nasty, it would leave again.

I repeated it in some way the mother's role.

“The book and the story of my family suddenly became topical.

Because of Korona, it is to be feared that many families will soon have to experience the same as our family. ”Photo: Anna Huovinen

There was love, too

Kimmo's parents never officially divorced.

The Christian values ​​and attitude to life inherited by the mother from her childhood home kept the mother faithful to her partner until the end.

- Mother was a legacy of loyalty.

Some love of youth from Lapland played for him, but his mother must have loved and missed his father until the end.

He worried, got many stomach ulcers and eventually had a cerebral hemorrhage.

Even his father's life would have been easier if he had been able to be at peace in Helsinki.

- The father-mother relationship must have been a huge love at the time, but when the company ended, it somehow knocked them both out and toxic bitterness came to power.

They could no longer fix it.

Father supported us with a sense of duty.

The mother did not have a job or a profession, but a mere national pension.

Sometimes the mother cared for the children of some families on a small salary.

In adulthood, however, Kimmo's distance from his father was good, even cordial.

Dad helped with concrete things.

When Kimmo studied in Helsinki and the young family ran out of money, his father sometimes brought food and bought them a car.

- Love was probably mutual on a principled level.

But we never talked about any intellectual things or feelings.

Dad had attended elementary school and read only war books, I studied aesthetics, philosophy, and literary and theatrical sciences.

What did we have in common to discuss?

Kimmo couldn't quite be angry with his father, but the sadness has gripped him so tightly that he can hardly ever get out of it.

He has also suffered from depression.

- My mother's grief and depression somehow secretly absorbed me.

Murder is a big part of my personality, he says.

Difficult fatherhood

It would have been impossible to write about the parents so directly if they were still alive.

Kimmo's mother died in 1989, his father fifteen years later.

Now there is complete freedom to feel and say, but no longer anyone to ask.

The grave is easy to crack, but no one answers.

- I felt guilty about why I reveal such things to the public.

Writing facts is a tough dune.

The book is kind of a difference, and the differences happen.

But in the book, Kimmo also reveals things about himself that he can’t just be proud of.

He has been awarded many times for his books and work as a journalist, and his role as a father has been more complex.

Kimmo’s first union ended in divorce when her daughter was five years old.

Kimmo divorced his second daughter's mother when the child was of school age.

- Could it be that the mathematical formula is repeated in this way?

I have nothing but question marks.

- I haven't been a terribly present father.

But nowadays, the interval between my daughters is lovely.

Yes they love me and I love them.

That's a good starting point.

Today, Kimmo is also a grandfather.

What is visible in the mirror?

Of the car trips with my father to Helsinki, I especially remember when the father took the boy to look at the rubbish bin at the Viikki bus depot.

According to the father, it was the home of a homeless mother and son.

“It’s hell that society can’t provide housing for these people either,” Dad had rained.

A similar attitude is still felt in Kimmo's work as a journalist.

He has written specifically about the status of the Roma in Romania and called for decent treatment for beggars and the homeless.

- Solidarity and empathy for the marginalized comes from the father and, of course, from the fate of our family.

It’s easy for me to understand and experience compassion for those who haven’t done well either.

The futility of bitterness was taught to Kimmo by a serious illness in 2008. A life-threatening infection caused by staphylococcal bacteria and the herpes virus, which began with itching of the eye, attacked facial tissue and destroyed the majority of them.

In two weeks, the face, health, and old mirror image were gone.

Kimmo was saved, not his face.

After numerous surgeries, he hopes there will be no more.

The person who writes survives by writing things out of himself.

In his previous novel, Kimmo talked about getting sick and coping with it.

He wrote about his own life for the first time then, but far from everything has yet been said.

- Now a plug has opened.

I thought about keeping it open.

Kimmo Oksanen

  • Non-fiction writer and editor.

  • Turned 60 years 1.9.

  • Works as a journalist at Helsingin Sanomat.

  • Award-winning e.g.

    With the Finnish Pen's Freedom of Expression Award, Bonnier's Great Journalist Gala's Best Book of the Year award and the State Information Disclosure Award together with Heidi Piiroinen.

  • Lives in Helsinki, second home in Sysmän Valittula.

    Two daughters.

  • Father's Shadow (WSOY) has just appeared.