(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.

(83) Dilemmas

The dilemma at a choice between different interests with respect to dear ones could be that this requires key decisions from which future happiness depends. It is choosing between two dear worlds and you must make the best of it. Sometimes, afterwards, you regret your choice. But you can never know where that other choice would have lead to. Maybe you would’ve regret that choice too in the end. And at that moment, when the awareness is there, you suddenly step into a grieving process.


The past few blogs I’ve asked the readers if they could help me by providing me with their experiences they’ve had, experiences they are still going through perhaps and, what their opinion was about that. The story of one of the readers triggered something deep inside me. The blog is not just about her story alone, but also about others.

I would like to thank again all readers for their contribution.

What is the story about in this blog?

Kathy, a fictional name, and her partner have a son and a daughter who lead their lives for a long time.

The son lived alone and passed away a few years ago. The son had often visited his parents and his sister. Kathy and her partner took comfort in walking and music… and they took comfort from their daughter’s family. The daughter had much grief about the loss of her brother. From personal experience, I know all too well what the impact is when you lose a child. It doesn’t matter how you explain it, only people who have experienced this themselves will understand you. You’ll carry your sadness for the loss of a child for the rest of your life.

The daughter has a family and a child and lives abroad because of het partner’s work, it’s at about 6 hours flying distance. It’s a happy family. Despite all communication tools we have in our today’s world, Kathy misses direct contact with her daughter. The distance doesn’t make it easy either.

The daughter misses her brother, he often came to visit her. She also misses her parents and would love to have them living near her so they could see each other more often.

The relationship between Kathy and her mother was never optimal. Nevertheless, Kathy is doing a lion’s share of the care of her mother. It is becoming increasingly difficult for Kathy to keep it up. There are other family members who could help her mother. Her mother, however, considers it Kathy’s job to take care of her. Her mother doesn’t ask anything from the other family members.

When Kathy is with her mother, they never talk about Kathy’s deceased son. When Kathy is with her daughter, they can talk about him. Here Kathy feels herself complete again… as if her family is one tight set again.

Kathy and her partner are not one of the youngest anymore and have so their shortcomings. Moving to her daughter is not easy and how do you arrange the care for your mother? And all the acquaintances and friends that they have now… all those that you’re going to miss? It would be a whole new start… and that at her age.

And there you are… how to proceed from here?

Everyone wants everything from Kathy. If Kathy stays here for her mother, then Kathy will eventually blame her mother she can’t be with her daughter. When Kathy choses for her daughter then in the end, her mother will start complaining to Kathy she’s not with her.

An almost obvious question that is not asked to Kathy, in my point of view… “What does Kathy want?” In my opinion this a form of hidden loss and hidden grief, one of the variants of a mourning process.

What is it you want when you need to make such a choice… where nobody realizes what’s going on and because of that the question is not asked… or… is everyone afraid to ask that question to you? But most important is… “What do you want?”

The dilemma at a choice between different interests with respect to dear ones could be that this requires key decisions from which future happiness depends. It is choosing between two dear worlds and you must make the best of it. Sometimes, afterwards, you regret your choice. But you can never know where that other choice would have lead to. Maybe you would’ve regret that choice too in the end. And at that moment, when the awareness is there, you suddenly step into a grieving process.

A choice like that is rarely a simple one, but once made you should totally go for it. Never look back with the idea you should have taken the other choice. It’s about you and your partner and more important… it should feel if not great, it should feel good. Nothing more and certainly nothing less.

(81) Insecurity

The first lesson I want to share with you is that I’m preparing myself for the worst case that can happen to me. I’ve always done that in my life. And anything that can be deleted from my list during the coming months and weeks are an improvement… as if it’s a small event that can be celebrated.


The contribution of this blog was delayed by about a week. Unfortunately, there was a reason for that.

It seems like I’m sitting in roller-coaster again lately: sharp curves, loopings, and steeply going up and down with high speeds. I realize that on the one hand it sounds exciting and the other hand it has something like… what are talking about and what is the emotion that dominates? Is it fear… or is it anger about a possible loss?

Personally, I’ve an idea how long I’ve left to live. I expect that more people have an estimate about how old the will become. But even if you don’t have, how do you respond when you are being told that that moment could sooner than you would expect… even much earlier? That you are told it would be good to prepare for this. How would you respond? What will do in the mean time?

What would you do if you were told that due to a medical procedure there’s a high risk of paralysis of parts of your body or a damage to your brains? And how would you prepare for this?

What would you still like to achieve in your life? You even may have a bucket-list with everything you want to do that is important to you. How would you deal with those items… you can’t do any more… no matter how much you would like to do so?

For me personally these are no imaginary questions. These are concrete questions I need to answer because there’s an aneurysm in my aorta which needs to be removed at some point of time. So yes, again I’m sitting in a roller-coaster: sharp curves, loopings, and steeply going up and down with high speeds! And yes, I’m afraid of about what can happen when I’m not able to make decisions anymore… and anger about topics that are on my bucket-list but can’t realize anymore.

Well, there you are…

It took a while but in the meantime the calm has returned in my head again… although it’s a different kind of calmness… it feels as acceptance, surrender and above all an in and in deep tranquility. And I notice that with this kind calmness… I’m starting to change again! I can’t really explain this, perhaps never, but the change feels very delightful. It’s like that old coat that feels so comfy when you put it on again.

My interest and attention begins to focus more and more on those things that really do matter in life. The is ballast to me and a waste of time. Wow… I’m behaving like my daughter! She did so too during her short life.

I’m using more and more my gut feeling ans start to discover that my soul is in communication with my brain and my heart and when in harmony we can do great things together. The future will teach me what those great things will be. And I expect that the lessons I will learn based on the possible consequences of the coming surgeries will play a major role.

As with the loss of a loved one you also meet people who tell you it’s not all that bad. People who have no idea what it’s about and at the same are telling you shouldn’t treat it so gloomy. You come across people who withdraw themselves when they start to understand what is going to happen to you. And fortunately, you also meet people who are ready to support you one way or the other and are even disappointed when you keep them off somewhat.

On the other hand, and it even may sound bizarre to you, I believe that the aneurysm in my aorta and the removal of this has prompted me into new learning curves. One curve on which I learn how to deal with the fact that the end of my life on Earth could be much closer than I would expect. And a learning curve where I learn what else I could do when it’s impossible to realize all topics on my bucket-list.

The first lesson I want to share with you is that I’m preparing myself for the worst case that can happen to me. I’ve always done that in my life. And anything that can be deleted from my list during the coming months and weeks are an improvement… as if it’s a small event that can be celebrated.

It goes without saying that the above experiences and preparations are different for each of us. Yet, during the coming months I’m going to share my experiences with you in the hope you can use these somehow when you find yourself in a similar situation.

I would like to hear your experiences and opinions on this topic. Would you help me with this?

(80) A Choice On My Path-Of-Life

Well, there you are. How do I go on from here?


About ‘choices’ and ‘making choices’ I’ve written more often. The topic interests me and I would like to get in touch with people who needed to make, or have been involved in, a distressing choice in their life. I have the need to write several blogs about this topic with the expectation that people could use these for support or guidance.

An example for clarification.

Some time ago I was informed by the Cardiologist that test results showed that I have an aneurysm in the aorta. At that time, it was not entirely clear where the aneurysm was precisely sitting in my aorta. Earlier tests before and after my open-heart-surgeries didn’t show any sign of an aneurysm and my Cardiologist didn’t justify the current situation. In short, an additional test and an appointment for a follow-up consultation were rapidly ordered.

Well, there you are. In a short time, my world can be completely turned upside down. The latter happened so often in my life that I should be able to cope with that… should be able to deal with it. Though this time the argument of staying here or leave was approaching fast. And, what never happened before… this time I got stressed out and I couldn’t produce anything anymore… my world… stopped turning… completely.

I started wondering why my response to the given situation now was so different.

At the moment, it feels for me that I’m walking on the correct path-of-life. But I also feel that I must make a few important choices in my life soon. One of those choices is linked to the aneurysm in my aorta. In the case the aneurysm is sitting in the bend of the aorta (where the arteries to the heart and the brain are sitting) then there would be a considerable risk that my brain could be damaged because of the surgery. What do I want to do in that case? What decision am I going to make? I’m not sure yet. In any case I don’t want to become a ‘vegetable!’

I also feel that I’m yet able to, and allowed to carry out several more tasks in this life. And when I’m allowed to decide this I’m going to do that. However, my body should be able to cope with that too.

Well, there you are. How do I go on from here?

It goes without saying that there exist several reasons why people need to make distressing choices. I have the need to write several blogs about this topic with the expectation that people could use these for support or guidance. Therefor I would like to get in touch with people who needed to make, or have been involved, in a distressing choice in their life.

You can contact me by using the site’s contact form.

(79) Choices… Choices… Choices…


In everyday life, we make consciously and unconsciously many choices. In one case, it’s crystal clear what choice to make, in the other case the choice is far from certain, let alone that you understand the consequences of your choice… or… that you even can make a choice.

During bereavement emotions add another dimension. Decision-making is not becoming easier… on the contrary. In addition to that these choices have most of the time an impact on your path-of-life.

I used to think that making a choice is just like when you’re standing on a crossroads. You see different streets coming together at the crossroads. In the streets, you can see what’s out there but the view is limited. And beyond is uncharted territory. And yes… how do you proceed from here?

  • You can make a choice based on what you initially see. And accept the unknown for what it is and what it represents.
  • You can make a choice based on your sense of direction in which you feel your destination is. And accept the street and the unknown for what they are and for what they represent.
  • Perhaps there’s a bench where you can sit at the crossroads. Where you can contemplate how to proceed. Where you can weigh all cons and pros for the different choices that are available to you until you’re sure of your choice.

You’re not proceeding with your life when you’re not making choices. And, you’ll never get total certainty for any choice you make. After all, things that were originally hidden when you made your choice are becoming visible once you’ve put your first steps again. Hence, there is no point in reasoning out (in detail) what steps you should take… but do listen carefully to your feeling.

In my opinion everyone has a purpose in life. However, that purpose is not important… what important is, is the path you’ve followed to accomplish your purpose. And in particularly the lessons you’ve learned and still learn on your path are important.

To reach your goal you’ll have to make choices to move forward in life. What those choices are? That’s not for me. That’s up to you! You are responsible for the choices you make in your life. It also means that you must accept the consequences of a choice made… after all it’s your choice.

What I’ve learned so far is that it really doesn’t matter what choice you make to achieve your goal. When you keep making choices you reach your goal eventually anyway. Only the road towards it is different. One way is harder or longer than the other way. What is important, is to have confidence that the path you’ve selected is the proper path.

It also amazes me time and time again is that you unwind once you’ve made your choice. You’ve put a step forward. And whatever the situation was where you’re coming from… or maybe even still is… you’ve put a step… a step forward. And with that you opened new opportunities to move forward in life. Make sure you make use of what you discover… what you see… what you get… what you receive… what you feel. Exploit it fully! Get all out of it!

Maybe you’ll discover at some point in time that you’ve learned new things, new capabilities… something that you otherwise never would’ve done…something that might be a revelation for you… something that made you happy (again)!

But please do realize that it’s your own responsibility to make and to keep making your choices, how difficult and annoying that every time may be, to achieve your goal on your path-of-life.