(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.

(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.

(72) My Journey from Grief to Sorrow

While I was processing my grief in the past period consciously and unconsciously, I can now see the huge change I’ve made. A change that transformed the raw pain from my grief into the forgiving pain of my sorrow. In addition, I have found new opportunities on my path and despite my sorrow I became a happy person again. In retrospect I can conclude that what I have achieved now and the way I feel now … I couldn’t even imagine that in my wildest dreams three years ago!


In my first blog, on the 23rd of September 2013, I mentioned that you are not alone in processing your grief in some way. I also informed you that I want to share with you the lessons I have learned and am still learning during my personal journey of bereavement. Yes, that was then.

At the moment, that is the 15th of June 2016, it’s almost three years later and from my point of view it is a perfect moment to review what happened in the meantime and, what lessons we could learn from this.

Should I make a comment against your preconceived notions, your beliefs or violate personal beliefs, accept what is true for you and let the rest go.

When you read my latest blogs, I’m also using a spiritual approach. With spiritual I do not mean that mediums are telling me the messages that deceased dear ones are giving to me… no… not that way! Practical as I am I cannot do much with such messages. Everyone knows that no matter how well we do our best, communication between people is difficult to say the least… let alone between a deceased dear one and we as human beings. That is why I try to get to the core of such messages to see whether I can do something with it in a very Earth like and in a for me very practical way. My blog titled Light is such an example.

In my first blogs I wrote about the bleak experiences… about experiences during your mourning… about the raw grief. Today, the 15th of June 2016, I talk about love… true love. Love not only on Earth, but in another universe… where both my deceased dear ones are… where my spiritual guides are… with an infinitely grander sensation or emotion… than we experience here on Earth. Michael Newton’s book “Journey of Souls” describes what I already unconsciously knew for a long time.

In retrospect, I can say that I have experienced somehow all stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) developed by Elisabeth Kübler Ross. And not only that, “passion” and “drive” are factors that determine the course of your bereavement. Two factors with which you can transform negative things in your life into positive ones and as result it makes you “stronger”. What I also did learn in the past is to adopt a positive attitude. A positive attitude not only largely determines how you walk through your process of grieving; it also determines the speed at which you walk through this. Bereavement is like a dance… two steps forward and one back. Eventually you’ll arrive where you need to be.

In retrospect, it is also my experience that I walked on two parallel paths at the same time… maybe I was doing so already all the time. One path is that of the heart or the soul. The heart mourns… for the grief… for the persons deceased and he is missing… for friendships he lost and is still missing… but also celebrates new friendships he obtained… and also celebrates others he met. The head is just busy to make sure the heart survives. Most of the time the head does this unconsciously and… maybe not always in a most elegant way… that is often not… but… the result is that I just can continue with life. Yes, unconsciously… but still I often find afterwards that the proper choices were made… and that those choices changed my path(-of-life).

The result is also that my heart and head are more and more balancing each other. The days I’m in balance, are great days in my life. And when there are also friends with me… yes… yes, then despite all my sorrow, I find such a day… awesome.

In retrospect, it also appears that my interests have changed… from engineering… to people and the behavior of people. Not that during my jobs people were not important, on the contrary, people were very important, but… in the knowledge area of grief and bereavement people are very important in a different way… more personal… and…vulnerable. Especially after my openheart-surgaries… it felt like a switch was pushed from on to off. I didn’t want to do anymore the work I used to do… and I used to love. But… that new focus area… people… I find infinitely more challenging and interesting than engineering. I wish I had started much earlier with this expertise… however, it is what is!
mijn reies van rouw naar verdriet - shutterstock_343539905
While I was processing my grief in the past period consciously and unconsciously, I can now see the huge change I’ve made. A change that transformed the raw pain from my grief into the forgiving pain of my sorrow. In addition, I have found new opportunities on my path and despite my sorrow I became a happy person again. In retrospect I can conclude that what I have achieved now and the way I feel now … I couldn’t even imagine that in my wildest dreams three years ago!

I sincerely hope that when you look to your path of bereavement in retrospect… that you can draw similar… and for you acceptable conclusions.

(68) Light

Someone informed me that I should bring people to the light. I was speechless and got goosebumps all over my body.

Someone recently asked me if I was working with older people. “No,” was my response, “I’ve mostly worked with young people at my work. Why the question?” The person informed me that I should bring people to the light. I was speechless and got goosebumps all over my body. Many questions came up in my mind. The most important ones to me were “who am I” and “why me” and “why only older people?” Questions I couldn’t raise at that moment, let alone to understand the answers. At that moment my attitude was like… “come on” … “not right now” … or “act normal and stay on the ground with both feet.”

The message kept haunting me in the following days. Questions like… what if… and how… Most people who know me, know me really well, would say “He was able to solve most problems in his life so far. He will be able to solve this one too.” Thank you for your trust in me, but… personally I’ve a completely different opinion about this topic.

I’ve tried to ignore the message completely; it was impossible!

That’s why I will give it a try nevertheless and I also hope to take you on this journey of discovery. It would make my day when you provide me with your comments so I can keep staying on the ground with both feet.

In addition to the physical meaning light has also an emotional meaning in our language. At one extreme of the balance with The Light a reference is made to the warm and divine light of the Almighty. The other extreme of the balance is dominated by the gloomy light, as the light in dark cloudy weather that makes you almost sad or depressive. And somewhere in the middle of the balance has light, as when the Sun is shining, the meaning of joy, cheerful, loving, understanding and freedom.

Just to be clear, I actually don’t know what, who, or where the loving light of the Almighty is, but I have a strong feeling that it would be great to be in The Light. What is also clear to me is that The Light is not in our world; when that would be the case our world would have been much more peaceful with infinitely more love between people than we experience today.

And, how should I interpret in the message the word “bring?” Does it mean that I only prepare the “journey” for the person concerned and that he or she “travels” all alone? Or, is it the intention that I should accompany the person concerned on his or her “journey”; from home to The Light so to say?

In my culture we have concepts as: palliative care, euthanasia and terminal care. In this context in my opinion the “journey” of the person concerned is arranged partly and/or the person is accompanied for a part of the “journey.” People working in this field are very empathic; I have a lot of appreciation and great respect for them.

Yet I have a strong feeling that personally I shouldn’t seek for solutions towards palliative care, euthanasia and terminal care. What is more, I’m not even capable to freely travel at will between our world in which we live and the world of The Light of the Almighty.

It’s all very frustrating. Nevertheless, I can’t ignore the message and have a very strong feeling that I need to find a solution to this issue.

(UK-51) Post ImageBut, maybe I can consider this in a much more pragmatic way? In other words, much lighter. You can also guide and coach people from the dark gloomy light, where people are sad, to the joyful light somewhere half way the balance where people are happy again. When I approach it in this way then I can help translating sadness or grief into joy. Then I can help people to obtain new insights while removing the sharp edges of their grief so they can continue with their life. Yes, in this way I can bring and guide people to the light in our world. That would be awesome; both for me and for those involved.