(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.

(84) Letting Go

“I do understand that you are grieving because your wife has died and you are missing her dearly. But, if you do want to get on with your life then you should let her go.”


At the time of writing my wife died 6½ years ago… time flies. Our marriage experienced the usual lows and many highs, and looking back to those 35 beautiful years that our marriage lasted I can only remember the great moments we had together.

We had agreed during our marriage that the one who lived longest shouldn’t stay alone, but should seek a new partner. In my opinion, such a promise is one thing, to honor it is quite a different matter. I had several relationships in the period after her death. Ranging from superficial to intense and with a duration varying from short to over 1½ years. Looking back, I must note that my deceased wife was still deep in my system. Of course, that’s beautiful because we had a great marriage, but in a new relationship it’s a disturbing factor. And, yes, I can hear the statements that the new partner should accept that your deceased wife is still in your system, and that is rightly so, but it is in my opinion not fair to the new partner.

In the end, I came to a point in my life that I decided not to become involved in a new relationship anymore. I felt outstanding, many friends were around me, it felt great that way. During that period, I carried a necklace with our wedding rings attached to it. It gave me peace and comfort. It also gave the feeling that my wife was always with me. Although I couldn’t touch her physically, I clearly could feel her presence.

A couple of months ago, the necklace seemed to be getting heavier by the day. Don’t laugh… pragmatic as I am I even checked the weight of the necklace on the scales. Of course, it’s weight didn’t increase, but in my opinion, it felt that way.

At a certain moment, a voice said to me, as if the person was literally standing next to me: “I do understand that you are grieving because your wife has died and you are missing her dearly. But, if you really do want to get on with your life then you should let her go. You must also accept the person you are deep inside you; you must accept yourself completely. Add to the necklace with the wedding rings the symbol of an angel and one of eternal life.”

It took a while, but eventually I bought an Ankh and the wings of an angel and added these together with the wedding rings on the necklace. To my surprise I felt myself changing the following days. Colors looked brighter… more radiant. Water felt different… softer. I was happier. The world around me seemed friendlier. People looked at me differently… or was it that I looked at people in a different way.

Recently, the voice told me: “It is time to have on the necklace only the symbol of an angel and one of eternal life; without the rings.” This time I listened to the voice immediately and took the rings of the necklace. At that moment, my life seemed to upturn. It became silent within me, almost serene, but also a deep knowing; you could call it inner peace. It also felt like the world was holding its breath for the miracle that was about to happen… the miracle of meeting a new soulmate.

(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.

(76) Acceptance

When you accept who you are, accept your abilities and can live with that, by using the most of your opportunities, then from my point of view you are performing at your best!


Acceptance, a word, with a very powerful and sometimes also oppressed connotation. A word that even can have a great influence on our lives.

But, acceptance of what? Is it about the acceptance of the other, the way he or she is… the way he or she looks or behaves… without any comment? Sometimes… but when processing your grief or your loss then acceptance is about yourself. Accepting of what you are or who you are. Maybe the next step could be that you’re content with who you are. The acceptance of your limitations. Accepting the possibilities, you have in life in order to do the things you… can do. Not those things you would like to do but can’t because these are outside your abilities. But when you can live with all the limitations you have… whether these are physical… or financial… or you didn’t have the education you would love to have… When you can live with what you have… that is acceptance!

shutterstock_131791328When you accept who you are, accept your abilities and you can live with that… also by using the most of your opportunities… then from my point of view you are performing at your best. Then, even if others have a different opinion, you do great. In order to do so, you do not need to be rich. You are wealthy because you accomplish what you want to achieve… with all possibilities and abilities that are available to you.

Whatever opinion the other has about you, though important in itself, shouldn’t interfere with the acceptance of yourself.

Acceptance can lead to a positive attitude and that helps you in not simply complying to the limitations and opportunities of yourself and the world around you, but in making use of all means and possibilities how limited or promising these may be for you by setting an objective that is achievable for you. It’s not the objective that is only important, but also the experiences you acquire on its path.

And what if you don’t accept or, not can or, you are not willing to accept? Then, you become bitter. Then, you push away people. Then, you’ll come at a point in life where you can’t or won’t accept assistance or help no matter how well intended. Then, you become lonely and it goes from bad to worse. And all your energy is being wasted in a losing battle.

For that reason alone, acceptance is vital. It leads to a positive attitude which can help you in making something beautiful out of your life!