(2) A new experience

You would expect that after over 13 years, let me say this mildly, my emotions due to the loss of my daughter would be have been lessened by then.


The death of my daughter Anne Birgit had a huge impact on my life. However sad this is, it is an experience richer. Nevertheless, I would have preferred her to live now. But who am I to determine this?

My deceased daughter Anne Birgit
Private collection of Hans Fransen
My daughter Anne Birgit

The period around the death, in June 2000, of my daughter Anne Birgit was confusing to me. Strange things happened I couldn’t explain at the time. On the one hand, I had a lot of grief and I felt the raw pain of loss. On the other hand, I was arranging everything… cold and without any emotion. It all felt very ambivalent and I had no idea how to deal with this. As a family the days passed by in a haze. What was crystal clear though was that it felt different for each of us. However, it was difficult to talk to each other about our loss, even that was clear to us. We tried but didn’t succeed.

After months we got structure in our life again

Months later, all the pieces began to fall in the right place … little by little; slowly I became myself again. The sadness translated into the story about my daughter Anne Birgit and told it to everyone who wanted to listen to me. Well yes wanted to listen … one way or the other, the conversation usually, consciously or unconsciously, turned out to be so.

13 years later

You would expect that after over 13 years, let me say this mildly, my emotions due to the loss of my daughter would be have been lessened by then.

Almost daily I thought about Anne Birgit and I remembered her as she was. At those moments the memory turned out to be a beautiful thing: the smallest details, emotions, colors, scents, warmth, conversations, and scenes presented themselves again … as if these were pictures or movie fragments … as if you relived it completely.

At present

What amazes me is most, is that there are people who think that it’s not normal that I’m still sad about the loss of my daughter Anne Birgit. After all, didn’t time heal all wounds? Isn’t grief healed eventually? The answer is yes… and no.

Yes, the raw pain of grief has changed into the mild pain of sadness. No, because occasionally I meet Anne Birgit’s friends. Married friends … with children. Those moments you realize what you’re missing and remember that my daughter could have had a family with children. That really hurts!

Did I find myself pathetic at the time? No, certainly not! At the time and today I am proud I was present when Anne Birgit deceased, and I could say goodbye to her. Am I still sad today? Yes … sure … until my death I expect. Am I a happy person? Yes indeed!

Text changed: 01-05-2019

Author: Hans Fransen

Founder of the Mourn & Grief Foundation

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