(86) Closure, a Follow Up…

Each of us experiences bereavement differently. For all of us the way we deal with bereavement is unique. And what’s more when you lose a child in my opinion you also lose a part of your future.


In my previous blog I described the closure of my bereavement regarding my wife’s death. In responses to the blog a valid question was raised: “And what about your daughter?”

Yes… what about my daughter?

Right now, I’m not sad about my daughter’s death in 2000. Yes, you’ll be thinking, at the time of writing it’s been 17 years ago. That’s a long time, hence it’s not surprising you’re not sad anymore about her death.

You may think this is bizarre… but, that I’m not sad about her death today is not because it’s a long ago. And yes, time doesn’t heal all wounds and certainly not this one. However, it’s not the time that passed… from my point of view it’s something completely different.

In my opinion, it’s because we knew from the day one that she wouldn’t live long. The pediatrician advised us not to mail her birth announcements. We did this anyway, she was born… so, it should be possible for her to live. During her life though, we regularly wondered if she would be able to celebrate her next birthday. In the end, she reached an age of over 21 years which is, although far too short to us, a respectable age for a person having Cystic Fibrosis. Our daughter knew and understood when she was eight years young that she wouldn’t live long. She made the decision to get everything out of her live that was humanly possible. And from my point of view, she succeeded absolutely.

Shortly before her death, our daughter told us that she would be very pleased when she finally could go Home. And we, although we would miss her a lot… we were happy for her too. Yes, it feels ambivalent… and it does. Certainly, for a stranger who doesn’t know or doesn’t understand our family.

Do I miss her? Yes and no! Yes, she’s no longer physically present and I’m not able to give her a hug anymore… like I used to do. And no, because I can often feel her presence and, one way or the other she writes sometimes a blog by using me, or we write a blog together.

For that reason alone, the closure of my grief due to her death is quite some time ago now. But sometimes… when I meet one of her friends… it’s tough again.

When I re-read the above, I understand why Irene, the author who responded to the Dutch version of my previous blog, feels the loss of her deceased son differently. He died unexpectedly. For that reason alone, her bereavement is different.

In my opinion, grief and the processing of grief is strongly dependent on how your dear one deceased. Was it suddenly or unexpected or, were you able to prepare for this over the years? Were you there during the death of your dear one, or were you told that the other died? Was the process of dying of your dear one a calm one… or, not? All these factors, and probably many more, influence how you experience your bereavement and how you deal with it.

Each of us experiences bereavement differently. For all of us the way we deal with bereavement is unique. And what’s more when you lose a child in my opinion you also lose a part of your future.

(85) Closure

With the closure of my grief, I would also like to tell you that bereavement is not only about grief, loss and sadness… but also about joy and happiness.


In my first blog, I wrote that you’re not the only one who must deal with grief one way or the other. I wanted to share with you the journey I had made so far because of the loss of my daughter and my wife. I also wanted to share with you the lessons I had learned in the hope that you might be able to apply these to yourself.

In the 72th blog, I looked back over a period of almost 3 years and described how I was consciously and unconsciously processing grief. Looking back, I realized at the time that the raw pain of grief had changed into the soft pain of sadness, that I had found new opportunities on my path and that despite my sadness I had become a happy person again.

When publishing the 84th blog, it became clear to me that it was OK to be sad… because my wife had died… and I missed her. But, I should let her go in order to be able to get on with my life! And not only that, I also should fully accept the person I am deep inside including all limitations and possibilities! In retrospect, I also realized that I had changed so much that deep inside me I had become silent… almost serene.

With the publication of this blog, I’ve come to a point where I truly can say that I did let go my deceased wife and because of that she is able to continue her path in the universe where she is right now. Although I can’t feel her presence anymore, somehow, I understand that we always will remain connected with each other.

At the time of writing, my feeling clearly indicates that my grief has come to a closure. However, it’s my opinion that it never will come to a finality. There will always be moments in the future that I recall my late wife. During those moments however, my sadness will not hurt me anymore. A partner will understand that and will be there for me during those moments… just as I will be there for her.

The serene silence inside me, I wrote about in my previous blog, is still there. Although at the time of writing it feels more like… inner peace. Probably that’s because I truly accepted who I am… with all my abilities… and all my limitations. I also notice that I, much more than I used to do so… that I ignore unnecessary hassle, nonsense conversations and nonsense topics. It feels as if I need to squeeze a full new life into that part of my path of life that I’m walking right now. It’s obvious to me that while using all lessons I’ve learned I can finally continue with a life full of happiness, opportunities and most of all new challenges.

With the closure of my grief, I would also like to tell you that bereavement is not only about grief, loss and sadness… but also about joy and happiness.

(78) Farewell

She was done with it. Her life had been a long struggle, a fight against that debilitating disease and against the ignorance of people. She was all done!


She was done with it. Her life had been a long struggle, a fight against that debilitating disease and against the ignorance of people. She was all done!

She had learned a lot in this life. That people couldn’t understand, or couldn’t accept how ill she was and how hard that was for her. Most just said that she was a beautiful young woman. Those people only saw the outside. Those people never saw who she really was.

Despite everything she had done during her life, she had made every effort within her capabilities. She had fought so hard to accomplish everything time and time again. She had learned a great deal in this life. It hadn’t been in vain.

There was nothing more for her to do. She had done everything she could do. She was ready to leave!

She had said her goodbyes to all her friends. That day had been tough for everyone. Not just to her friends and her family, but most of all to herself. She was tired. Soo very tired!

She was ready with her life here on Earth. She was ready for the journey. She wanted to go to that other side. She wanted to leave.

But, something held her back. She still hadn’t said her goodbyes to her mother… and… her father. They hadn’t yet given her permission to leave. They still couldn’t let her go.

She was so tired… real tired. She wanted so badly to start her journey. She was ready to go.

There came a moment, that the father said to the mother while their daughter was peacefully asleep and yet seemed to hear everything… There came a moment the father said that it was fine for him. That it was okay for her to go. That it didn’t matter how long it would still take for her to start her journey. It was all right!

The father went home. He was tired of managing all that was necessary so her friends could say their farewells. It had been one of the toughest tasks in his life. No one had any idea how cruel that task had been to him and how tired he was. Soo tired… dead tired.

As he drove home, she ‘joined’ him in the car to say her goodbye. She was happy that he allowed her to leave. Extremely happy. She was ready with her life on this Earth. She wanted so badly to leave for the other side where she could meet everyone again. Where it would be a feast for her. Without that sick body. Without all those limitations.

Yes, while he was driving home she came for him to say her farewell.

It was a great feeling. As if his daughter was again sitting next to him. He became peaceful… and that moment… she left.

The father was called. He should come to the hospital. It didn’t go well with her.

He saw his daughter in the arms of his wife. A heartbreaking mother… with a broken heart… her daughter had died in her arms.

He saw a joyful daughter in her arms.

A daughter who was so happy that she was finally on her way. That she was finally rid of that body she had struggled with all her life, that had caused her so many problems. That she had finished a life where so many hadn’t understood who she really was. She was so happy that she had got everything, really everything, out of her life that was ultimately and humanly possible for her… it was okay.

She was happy she was finally on her way. She is a happy… spirit!

(2) A new experience

You would expect that after over 13 years after the loss of my daughter, let me say this carefully, would be less emotional than in the beginning.

Looking back to the period around my daughter’s death strange things happened. Things that I couldn’t really explain. On the one hand I had a lot of grief and, on the other I was arranging everything for her … without any feeling or emotion. I felt quite ambivalent at it, didn’t really understand what to do with it and how to respond.

Months later, little by little I was becoming myself again. The grief translated into the story about my daughter I told to anyone who was willing to listen. Well willing to listen … it turned out that one way or the other the conversation usually, consciously or unconsciously, turned around to my daughter.

You would expect that after over 13 years after the loss of my daughter, let me say this carefully, would be less emotional than in the beginning. On the contrary. Lately my daughter is almost daily in my mind and, and the mental image I have is as she was at the time. On the other hand, I am lately remembering less and less of her death and the days that followed. During those moments the brain turns out to be a beautiful thing; all emotions, colors, smells, heat, conversations, environments come available again with the smallest details as if it were photos or film clips… as if you are re-living it.

Do I find myself pathetic? No, on the contrary! I am rather proud that I was present at her death and that we had been able to say farewell to each other. Am I sad? Yeah sure, up to my death I suspect. I’m a happy man? Most definitely!

(1) How it Started

My daughter died, at the time I’m writing this, about 13 years ago at an age of 21. She had Cystic Fibrosis, not sure if you are familiar with this genetic disease, but on average these patients die on a (very) young age. She knew she was dying and during the last weeks we (my daughter, my wife, the hospital staff and me) talked on what to do in the future. She would love that I would use my knowledge and experience as Management Consultant not so much in Health Care but in supporting or coaching and guiding people who lost a child or a dear mate; not sure if “mate” is the proper word here but I hope you understand what I try to say.

My wife and Soul Mate died about 2½ years ago. In the week before I received a card from a woman I had coached in which she stated that she found me an amazing and wonderful light on her path of life. I still remember our discussion, just a few days before she died, in which she suggested and even pushed me that this type of coaching should become my future path of life.

Earlier this year I retired after a great professional life which had only one downside; I completely lost count on how many times I travelled around the world, the places I have seen and the sheer amount of hotels I have slept in. But the effect on me personally was that I consider myself not as a Dutchman, not even as a European but much more as global person.

After my retirement my body was real tired and wanted to recover from all the stress and all the loss I had met. As a Management Consultant and as a Project Manager I was always aware of the fun and the stress around. I could always see this with other people but somehow I did not see these things for me personally. Until I discovered by happenstance that my process of mourning finally had started … after years.

You are not alone in this and through this blog I want to share with you the journey I made and am still making. I want to share with you the lessons I have learned and am still learning. Through this blog I want to set up a Foundation, my dream actually, that should be able to help others in coping with their loss and in guiding or supporting them with their process of mourning.

It is Obvious that this is not a one-man show. I cannot change the World in my own, but I can start with myself and hopefully others too and that they will spread the news. You never know what is in store in the future for us but I do hope we make a difference albeit it is a small one.