(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.

(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.

(82) Live!

Living life to its fullest is more important than a long life without living!


Living and love are essential themes in our existence. And above all, real life and true love are now rather lacking in our world. In our existence, living and love are in my opinion too important to waste.

Despite all the sadness around us and all the loss we must deal with personally, whatever the cause may be, it is important to proceed with our real life and true love. By continuing with our life this way, we honor and thank all those we have lost. In addition, we also owe them for the lessons we have learned from them, especially when we use these lessons for the benefit of ourselves… and for the world around us.

However difficult the situation is in your life, know that relationships with loved ones, friends and girlfriends come and go. Some relationships are for life… or for eternity. Other relationships exist only for certain periods. These relationships are from my point of view intended to learn from each other in life… and from life… whatever that may be. When we have learned everything from each other and it doesn’t matter what and how much, then our paths-of-life separate and we may meet each other again in the future.

For this reason alone, it is important not to get stuck in your grief. In mine opinion, it is better to get everything out of life then to have a long life without really living!

It is easily said, to do it is a different matter. By assessing everything in a positive way… however difficult that may be… eventually you start to proceed with your life again… and you will arrive wherever you want to be.

It is not necessary to put everything into actions immediately. Your attitude alone is more than sufficient to ensure that you even unconsciously carry out those actions that are in line with everything you feel.

But having that said…

There are people in our world, many people, who have hardly anything to eat today and they don’t know whether there is something to eat tomorrow… let alone… the day after tomorrow. People, who have no idea today whether they will wake up the next morning. People who need to live, possibly for years, in the most miserable if not horrific conditions. People who must survive every day, every hour, every minute… which is the only thing they can do! And those people you’re going to tell that they should consider or assess their life in a positive way? Those people you’re going to tell that they should get every possible thing out of their lives? They don’t understand what you are talking about… because, it’s the only thing they are doing already! Every day they get out of life what’s in it for them… how meager that might be! For them is all they have, there is nothing else!

In a nutshell, just as these people… and like my daughter in her short life… I will literally get everything out of life that it’s in for me. You might find me arrogant, but a long life without really living and truly loving I consider as… a wasted life!

And suddenly, to me death is not important anymore! What really matters is to get everything out of life that is humanly possible for me… every day… for the rest of my life… and maybe even after that!

(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?