The cardiac arrest I suffered in January last year had quite an impact on my life. And, despite that, it also turned out to be a beautiful gift. It took me a while to write the recent blog.
The past year
The path that followed in the past year had periods where it felt turbulent and serene at other times, and sometimes these alternated rapidly. It was an intense period and I regularly felt like a bouncing ball … you know, like a ping pong ball bouncing on a stone floor.
I had expected early last year that I had learned to deal with the big losses in my life … the loss of Anne Birgit, my daughter, and Mary-Anne, my spouse. I thought that in doing so I had simultaneously learned to deal with the other losses in my life. On the contrary, during the training as a professional grief counsellor at the “Land van Rouw” and completed in the same period, I encountered layers of loss and grief from my childhood and adolescence … such as the lack of love, as if I did not matter, was not seen by my parents and grandparents and, was not taught the language of love and emotions. Hence, putting my feelings into words is quite a task. Although I was aware of this, the understanding struck me like lightning out of the blue.
In a clear moment
That clear moment came after a conversation with one of the supervisors of the program. It came down to this:
– Sometimes I feel fine, sometimes, let us subtly phrase it, not so fine. In fact, I am constantly in a state of survival because of the lack of love from my parents and grandparents. As if I did not matter, was not acknowledged, not seen by them and, had no right to exist.
– I have not had a chance. From my parents and grandparents, I have not learned to feel and to love. As a result, I am at a tremendous disadvantage. My neurological connections related to feeling and love are only beginning to appear now … decades later.
– When you recall moments from your childhood. What do you encounter inside? Be exceptionally curious about the why and try to articulate that from there.
– But I do not have words … words I am searching for describing my emotions … and words give limitations at the same time. Then start by describing your bodily sensations. Words will come naturally … and sometimes they will not.
– Learn to trust your body! Well … feeling is one thing with me … it is my weak point. Feeling is and remains for me a work in progress. I used to learn from people’s assessments that strong points also have a complementary side; I am (very) good at … also has a shadow side. In short, can I use my impotence about feeling and emotions as a strong point?
As I was writing this, two lines from Anne Birgit on her urn came back to my mind:
“Do what your heart tells you … Do not be afraid with what you do!”
Those simple words from my daughter on her urn, empower me to continue my life’s path with confidence. That is a wonderful gift, isn’t it?
So what is that life path?
Share loss and grief experiences, both professionally and from personal experiences to others in similar situations to help them to learn to cope with their loss and grief … and to get on with their lives again. They may even discover possibilities they had not previously thought possible.
In sharing my experiences, I am thinking primarily of:
Counseling parents who are about to lose or have lost a child.
People counseling who are terminally ill.
Counseling people in learning to cope with their loss and grief in general.
As I look at it now, I am sure the list will get longer. We’ll see.
I hope to meet you in person or on this website or the Foundation’s Facebook page.
With heartfelt greetings, Hans Fransen
Share this post with other people within your network
In “Matters of the Heart”, it is about the big themes that have to do with your heart.
Like the theme of the great loves in your life, not just your soul mates or your loved ones but especially to yourself. Or the theme of the great losses, not only the death of your soul mates and loved ones but, also the loss of that fantastic job you had or, the suffering from a terminal illness. And following on from that, the theme of learning how to deal with grief and the possible consequences of ignoring it, avoiding it or being afraid to ask for help. Or like the theme of the possible illnesses of the heart when you do not listen to your heart, not so much the medical but the emotional consequences.
The common thread running through these themes is that consequences in “matters of the heart” prove to be fundamental. These are (enormous) changes on your life’s path. Whether you want to or not, you had better learn to deal with it and try to approach it from a positive, the sunny side … however difficult that may be … so that you can get everything that is possible for you out of your life.
The great losses
The great losses in my life are the death of my soul mates, my daughter Anne Birgit and my wife Mary-Anne.
Just before her death, Anne Birgit told me that she had been looking for information on how to support children who were about to die, and how their parents could cope with that. However, she had been unable to find anything suitable. Her last wish was I would guide parents who lost a child … because she had seen what I can do.
My wife Mary-Anne received a card from a woman who worked in one of my teams, one of my Golden Teams. She knew the woman and had me read the card. The woman wrote that she found me a light on her life’s path because of the way I knew how to motivate and coach her and her team members … making the impossible … possible.
During the weekend, Mary-Anne said that she recognised the compliment and that she thought that this should be more my future path. On that path I would be able to be completely myself … who I am in my core. It would also help to fulfil the last wish of our daughter.
Two days later, my soul mate Mary-Anne died.
However, it took a few years before I even had the courage to fulfil that promise. It meant a life’s change … a completely different path in life. Suddenly it happened to me … I had forgotten to listen to my heart.
Six years ago, I had two open-heart operations in quick succession. Two because the first time, when the aortic valve was replaced during the operation, it turned out that even more needed to be renewed. Altogether, it wasn’t so much that these operations were aggravating, but it was the enormous impact they had on my life. An impact that changed my life’s path.
Prior to the open-heart operations, I had registered for a European assignment through a colleague. As the client had ranked me second, I missed the contract… too bad, better luck next time. But after those operations, my colleague told me that the client wanted to hire the first three people on the list and he at once asked when I could come for the intake interview. Only … the bizarre thing was that when I heard that … I didn’t want to do this kind of work anymore. Make no mistake, I always found the work awesome. Stimulate people within my teams to enjoy doing the work … each time making the “impossible” come true. They became my Golden Teams. Fantastic jobs they were … I always enjoyed them!
After those open-heart operations it was over … it was just all over. I still don’t know how that was possible, but I had no desire to do what I used to do. I changed my career path and went to work in the land of loss and grief as a grief counsellor. In this way I’m fulfilling the last wishes of my two soul mates, my daughter Anne Birgit and my wife Mary-Anne.
Recently, I suffered two cardiac arrests. It happened in the ambulance after I had fainted during a walk in the dunes. I was not afraid for a moment. Only afterwards I did realise that I had been on the brink of death and the question arose… “Why weren’t you afraid? Even a friend who was with me experienced the peace around us. She was aware that incomprehensible forces were at work to protect us and support me. During the moments when my heart was stopped … I was very aware of the peace and tranquillity around me and felt very Alive. No, I was not afraid! I had an unshakeable confidence that there was something around me that would ensure that I would not die and that all would be well.
It was not the intention I would die at that moment. I already knew that working as a grief counsellor was the right path in life for me … but now I know without any doubt that this is my mission. A mission that I will not shy away from in the Land of Light. And it is precisely this that has made such an impression … in the same order as after those open-heart surgeries. However, this time not only on a deeper level, but also giving more direction.
As a grief counsellor, I am going to specialize in counselling parents who have lost a child … or will lose a child. I have also become aware that I must do something (to others) about the impact that the Near-Death Experience can have on a life. I don’t know yet how to do this, but I have blind faith that I’ll find the answers in my future.
You might think this sounds arrogant, but I have a blind faith that I can deal with what comes my way … and that I may and can guide the people I am going to meet. It is a very deep confidence. In retrospect, I consider those two times that my heart stopped as a Great Gift … as a gift from God! What happened then, I was allowed to Know and experience … I would never have wanted to miss the Near-Death Experience. I feel gifted, blessed, humble … and one with utter Consciousness! Something like that … but on a much deeper level.
When I look at the way I am now in life, I can say that I was never afraid to live. At the same time, I was never afraid to Be after my death in that other Universe to which we all eventually go.
On the other hand, I was afraid of the run-up to my death and the transition to that other Universe. I clearly had an opinion about that. But since those two times when my heart stopped and what I then experienced … that fear has also disappeared. What I also realise now is that the loss and mourning of both my soul mates has reached a point where I miss them … and will always do so … but now I can move onward with confidence with a new partner in my life. I am now fully aware that about that “ability”, I have been lacking in the past years to enter a new relationship.
The message I want to give you as a reader of the blog “matters of the heart” … no matter what happens … most of the time there’s a way to cope with the situation at hand … “a new beginning.” It helps by being really positive in your life. It can just be a new beginning where you start doing completely different things in your life.
Dear Reader, I fully realise that being positive in your life can be difficult from time to time … I know from experience … but for matters of the heart it is more than worth it. Whether it is the loss of a child … medical matters relating to your heart … a cardiac arrest and the deeper insights you may receive at that time … or the love for your partner, your soul mate … these are all matters of the heart that make life worth living!
Share this post with other people within your network
People generally avoid loss and mourning. One does not always know how to react, what to say to a grieving person. From subjects like loss, mourning or death, one becomes sad, gloomy, quiet. But why shouldn’t you be allowed or able to celebrate that the other person, your deceased loved one … that that special other person has somehow accomplished the tasks in life and is allowed to go home. Why shouldn’t you be allowed to celebrate that? Laugh with all your heart and soul, despite your mourning!
Recently, after a conversation with a friend, I noticed that I had been laughing with her. That laugh came deep inside … from my core … my soul.
Hours later it dawned on me that since the death of my daughter Anne Birgit, now more than 20 years ago, I had seldom done this! And because of the death of my wife Mary-Anne, already 10 years ago, I was not aware of how I really felt … how I was in life. Even though in those years I worked on myself … alone … or with others. Still, in those years I was able to enjoy life … have fun in life. But despite all that … or perhaps because of all that … that awareness that I had estimated from the laughter … felt to me like a thunderclap in clear heaven.
An ambivalent feeling
That awareness of that laughter deep from my heart gave me an ambivalent feeling. On the one hand it tasted like more … I wanted to be able to laugh more often with all my feelings. But on the other hand, why hadn’t I discovered this in myself sooner … hadn’t I become aware of it sooner?
Yes, I had often laughed and had fun after the great loss of both my soul mates … but somehow it wasn’t real … it didn’t sound real … as if something was missing … something deep inside.
And then all of a sudden … all of a sudden you come across statements by “verken je geest” on Facebook, translated from the Dutch language, like “It’s striking that a smile can have two different meanings … you can use it to show how good you feel … and … to hide how bad you feel”. Or a statement like “The people who laugh the most are the people who have suffered the most”. Yeah, I came across those statements suddenly after I realized that I had been laughing from all of my heart. Or did I not notice such statements earlier? I don’t know.
Light and Love
I want to heal myself and/or be healed so that after all the loss and sorrow that I have experienced so far, I can … really laugh with pleasure … really enjoy life … and really trust myself … love and light in my life are central again. But then I must go inside, to my feelings, to my heart … to my soul? Do I dare to do that? Will I succeed … or … With the help of others, professional experts in experience, it should certainly be possible.
At the same time with that insight I feel a deep peace coming in … as if I finally dare to make the leap to that part of the path that is full of obstacles. Or as Frank A. Clark describes it: “If you find a path without obstacles, it probably leads nowhere.
Dare to take that path … that path with its many obstacles and let yourself be surprised by the wonderful encounters and lessons you can learn there. Continue to cherish that path with Love and Light. Show what a wonderful person that other person was … that loved one you have lost. At the same time, show what a wonderful person you are and that despite your loss and mourning, you may shine in the Light and Love of Life. Celebrate that and Laugh with all your Heart and Soul, despite your mourning!
Share this post with other people within your network
The story starts with the only time I can consciously remember seeing my father. It ends with the enormous loss during the upbringing of my son. Yes Dad, I missed you so much … afterwards.
As a 3-year-old, I can still remember very well the image of my father about which the story in this blog is about. There are other images, but … these have been photos that have gradually disappeared over the years due to the many removals. That one image, 70 years ago now, which this blog is about, is still crystal-clear to me. However, it seems as if I am now looking through a magnifying glass. I see my father’s face in every detail. The rest of the space he is in, is blurred.
As I now remember it
As a 3-year-old, I see myself on my knees in the hallway of my grandparents’ house and play with my grandfathers’s blue-grey wooden toolbox. I finally got the lid open and nothing was in the box. From the noises behind me I could hear that my grandmother was busy in the kitchen. Furthermore the house was quiet, very quiet and … the way I now experience it again and letting the feeling of that moment come to me … the house feels as if it waited for something … as if something very intense … something very important was about to happen.
Then the front door opens, and my mother comes in. As soon as she sees me, there is a big smile on her face, and I am glad to see her again. She asks if I will go with her to my Father. Of course, I want to. She picks me up and carries me upstairs to the room where my Father is resting. It is the room I am never allowed to enter. He has tuberculosis and everyone is so terrified that he could infect me that I was certainly not allowed to go to him.
My Father has just woken up and while my Mother is sitting with me on her lap on the floor, away from the bed, he is turning on his side. When he sees me, a radiant smile appears on his face. His eyes are shining all over, he is so happy. So much energy and love he radiates to me. It is a contact from eye to eye … from soul to soul … short and intense. It feels like a farewell … as if he knows he will never see me again.
My mother lifted me up again and we went back downstairs. It was far too short. I wanted to go back to him, but it was not allowed. They were so afraid that I would also be infected with TB. That just wasn’t goingto happen.
Years later I heard from my Mother that my Father had died a few weeks later. My Mother and Grandparents never really wanted to talk about my Father; that’s how it felt with me. Only many years later during the upbringing of Mervyn, my son, I started to miss my Father enormously. I would have liked so much to talk to him about raising a son. How would he have raised me and what would he have run into? What else would he have wanted to do differently afterwards? So that I wouldn’t have had to raise my Son with “trial and error”. As a father to my son, the number of failures is in stark contrast to the bits that succeeded. Unfortunately, my Father was not allowed to experience my upbringing and that of his grandchild. Dad, I missed you so much!
What I became aware of again
What I realised again while writing this blog is that memory is a fantastic tool. You can’t retrieve everything from your memory just like that. It usually requires triggers, such as a smell, a colour, a sound, an image, or an emotion. One of the triggers with me was a journey through my soul where you go back to your past under hypnosis. Another trigger recently was during a training about loss and mourning in young people. What I now also realise … realise again … is that the consequences of loss and mourning can surface again (many) years later. Time does not heal all wounds, there will always be scars left. It is what it is.
Share this post with other people within your network
When you let go of a relationship with a narcissist, it means that you consciously take all steps to detach yourself physically, in mind, with your heart and with your energy from your narcissistic ex-partner. In practice it comes down to no longer nurturing the relationship to your ex-partner. Never!
Letting go of a narcissistic relationship
Loss and grief take many forms and is unique for everyone. The same is true for letting go of a narcissistic relationship.
When breaking a narcissistic relationship, the difficulty is leaving the narcissist. The relationship was ultimately one major trauma, and everything you have experienced from one moment to the next has made you come out of this relationship not only with a broken heart, but also with a broken Soul.
Conditions for ending a relationship
To fully end a relationship, in my opinion, several conditions must be met.
There must be a physical separation. It helps when you no longer touch, meet, and hear each other. This means that you no longer live under one roof, so you will live remotely or in a completely different environment (street, city, region.)
It helps when you do not keep thinking all the time about that person. It is just like driving a car. You look through the windscreen at what lies ahead and what is coming at you. You also regularly check the rear-view mirror to see what is behind you and to determine whether this has any consequences for your future. It is true that you look back, but not all the time. Looking back now and then is good and even important because you can learn from your experiences and you should not forget what happened in the past. It may prevent you from getting back into the same situation in the future. Either with the same person or the same situation with another one.
You should also be able to let go of the relationship in your heart. No matter how the relationship ended, or what your ex-partner did to you, no matter how traumatic the relationship was … there were moments that were fantastic and affectionate. Moments when your partner did everything to make you feel comfortable. There may even have been times when you thought it was the love of your life. If you keep looking at the loving and wonderful moments and you do not recognize the traumatic moments in your relationship, your heart is still connected to your ex-partner.
In addition, you must also be able to let go of the relationship energetically. In traumatic relationships it can happen that you are stalked by the ex-partner, physically on the street or via social media. It can go so far that the ex-partner mainly tells the positive version of the relationship to your family, friends or acquaintances and indicates in your environment: “I have no idea what is going on with him or her.” Which makes you feel completely misunderstood by your environment and will not give you the help or support you truly need. Those reactions take a huge emotional toll on you.
What it comes down to
When you let go of a relationship with a narcissist, it means that you consciously take all the steps to disconnect from your ex-partner. That means physically, in your thoughts, with your heart and with your energy. In practice it comes down to no longer nurturing the relationship to your ex-partner. Never.
To be brief, by letting go of your ex-partner in your heart and no longer thinking about that partner. Stop responding to messages, phone, email, etc. When you start thinking about the narcissist, try to find distractions so that someone does not get in your mind. If the narcissist nevertheless approaches you, try not to show your emotions. Showing emotions gives new food to the narcissist who will use it on you again. Cutting off all social contacts will help you on your way to healing.
The result is that you have finally really disconnected from your narcissistic ex-partner. As there is often so much misunderstanding in your environment, you can feel very alone, or even lonely at those moments. In any case, in these situations, try to find someone you can trust in and tell what is really going on.
Sometimes it can also be the case that you have no other choice than learning to deal with the narcissistic ex-partner because you have children together. In such a situation, try to limit contact as much as possible and continue to indicate your limits.
So, the answer to “How do I let go of a narcissistic relationship?” is not as easy as it seems. It takes an infinite amount of inner strength and perseverance. If you persist, it is the key to getting your life back. So that you can rebuild your self-esteem and self-confidence in freedom! So that you can learn to enjoy life again!
Share this post with other people within your network