The death of Anne Birgit had an enormous impact on my life. As sad as this is, it is a new experience. Nevertheless, I would have preferred her to be alive now. But who am I to determine that?
The period around the death, in June 2000, of my daughter Anne Birgit was confusing for me. Strange things happened that I could not explain at the time. On the one hand, I was incredibly sad and felt the raw pain of loss. On the other hand, I was arranging everything … “cold” and without any emotion. It all felt very ambivalent. I had no idea how to deal with this. As a family, the days passed like a haze. What was crystal clear was that it felt different for each of us. It was difficult to talk about it with each other, that was also clear to us. We tried, but it didn’t work out.
After months we got structure in our life again
Months later, little by little, everything started to fall back into place; I started to become myself again. The sadness translated into the story about Anne Birgit that I told to everyone who wanted to hear it. Well … somehow the conversation, unconsciously or not, usually turned out to end up with that.
13 years later
One would expect that, after more than 13 years, let me put it thoughtfully, the emotions would be less. On the contrary.
Almost every day I still thought of Anne Birgit and remembered her as she was. The memory turned out to be a very beautiful thing at those moments: all emotions, colours, smells, warmth, conversations, environments became available again down to the smallest details … as if they were photos or film fragments … as if you were reliving it again.
What surprises me most is that there are people who do not think it is normal for me to be saddened by the loss of Anne Birgit. After all, time heals all wounds, doesn’t it? Surely the grief will pass. The answer is yes … and no.
Yes, the raw pain of grief has changed into the gentle pain of grief. No, because I meet friends of Anne Birgit from time to time. Friends who are married and have children. Then, at those moments, you realise what you are missing, and you remember your own daughter and the family and children she could have had. That hurts!
Did I find myself pathetic then? No, on the contrary! I did not find myself pathetic then, as I do now. I was and am proud to be present at the death of Anne Birgit and to say goodbye to her. Am I still sad now? Yes … yes … until my death, I assume. Am I a happy person? Oh yes, I am!
Text updated: 22-10-2020