(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.

(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?

(73) You Thought It Was Over…

Suddenly there are those memories of that moment… that moment that felt like your world was destroyed. Suddenly you’re back to square one. You thought it was over.


Suddenly there are those memories of that moment… that moment that felt like your world was destroyed. You’re back to square one again. You thought it was over.

At the start of your grief or your loss – that period immediately after the death of your loved one, or the loss of the job you so loved to do, or your illness that can’t be cured – that period just after that intense loss… that period in which you felt that intense raw pain of your loss… at such a moment you are off balance and you are almost at risk to fall over. A period in which you would like to reset the clock. A period in which you would love everything was as before. A period in which you would prefer to crawl into a safe haven. A period in which you withdraw into yourself.

Je dacht dat het over wasAs time goes on you start to scramble out eventually… little by little. You are beginning to get involved again with everything that people around you are doing. In the end you start a number of activities yourself. Hesitantly… step by step.

You’re insecure. For how to proceed… alone… or without that job… or… You’re afraid that you will make mistakes. Now… you need to do or to arrange activities you never needed to do before… you may never have wanted to do. Yes, you expect to make mistakes, but the people around you have a different opinion. The people around you find you powerful… but… that’s not the way how you feel this.

Despite all your grief you proceed step by step… you have to. And with each step you get a little bit more confident.

There are moments you’re going too fast. Something unexpected happens that evokes a memory… like a smell, a color, a voice, a sound… a memory related to that loss. And again the realization that you must proceed alone… or that you don’t have that special job any more… or that you will not heal… or… Again you hit that loss… and you start all over again with your bereavement.

That falling back, repeats itself regularly during the processing of your grief. And each time you may recognize somehow all stages of grief like denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

Over time you less and less fall back. Each time this happens it feels a bit different from the one before. The harsh pain of your grief is slowly changing into the moderate pain of your loss. Not that you won’t be remembered of your loss anymore… that your loved one is no longer there. That memory remains with you for the rest of your life.

Little by little you get into balance again. Your heart and your head are starting to balancing each other out. The days return when you are happy again. Days where people can hear you laughing again. Moments that are a delight to you.

During those days something can happen that recalls a memory… like a face, a voice, a melody, a perfume, an image… a memory of that moment when it all started. You can’t see it coming, it just happens to you. And the process repeats itself again. Only each time a bit different. That is processing your grief. That’s the way it feels. Step by step.

When you can review yourself over a longer period of time you could find that each time you fall back… you fall back a bit less in your grief… and at the same time you might see that you also moved on a bit further… and that you became more confident.

Independent from how far you progressed in processing your grief, there will always be moments in your future where you revert to that moment when it all happened. The difference is that when your loss occurred it took a long time to proceed while processing your grief, in the future it will take less time. Eventually those moments change from sadness into moments where you can be proud at yourself because you came at a point at which you can proceed with your life. That you are carrying out new and different activities. That you have got new opportunities. That you are a complete human being again, which you always have been only you thought differently, who has an idea that everything in life happens as you think it should happen. Those are the days when you are in balance.

It might be challenging times for you at the moment or you have to cope somehow with a (great) loss in your life. Yet, I have faith you can become a happy person again who can smile and celebrate life. Maybe not in my way, but certainly in your way!