On the 4th of March of this year me, my sister and my brother lost a treasure ...
The beautiful, creative and inspiring woman who gave us life and lots and lots of joy and happiness. Not just when we were growing up but until the very end. My Mother ... She passed away unexpectedly after an accident in which she broke her leg. For most of us it would've meant a bit of pain, lots of discomfort and an inconvenience.... It killed my mum. She was only 75 years old.
Her life was eventful. She was born in January 1940 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, right at the start of the WWII. Although she was very young, she had vivid memories of German soldiers raiding the neighbourhood, hunting for Jewish people and men who were able to work for them. We grew up with stories of how her dad, my grandad, had to hide under the floorboards during the SS raids, which occurred just about every week. How she, her older brother, my uncle Herman, and my grandmother had to stand in line for hours to get a cabbage or, if you were lucky, a slice of bread to feed the family. I won't even mention the bombings.
By some stroke of luck, the whole family survived and my mum grew up to be a pretty, blond haired, green-eyed young woman. When she was 20, she met my dad. At that time he was a rebel, a wild thing. My mum soon tamed him and they got married after two years of romance.
Long story short, I was born two years later, followed by my brother another two years later and, cherry on the cake, 11 years after I was born, we had a sister.
18 years later, disaster struck. My mum was diagnosed with lung cancer and had an emergency operation. While she was recovering in intensive care, my dad unfortunately became a wild thing again and left us for another woman. Men will be boys ... Mum was heartbroken and so were we. However, mum turned out to be a trooper. She sold the family home, which wasn't a tragedy because me and my brother had already flown the nest and my sister was about to, acquired a nice flat and got back on track. She was very active in charity work and seemed to enjoy herself.
Another 18 years later, mum became increasingly fragile. She had heart problems, and more disturbing, terrifying nightmares. I lived in England at the time but my marriage broke down due to 'men being unable to grow up' and I moved back to the Netherlands to take care of mum. Well, somebody had to...
I did whatever I could for her for 5 years. Until ... she went out to do some shopping while I was working, fell over and broke her leg. Our GP called me right away (some unidentified good Samaritan took her to the practice). I dropped everything and got there just in time to escort her to the hospital.
She had an operation to repair her leg and things looked good for about a day but then she mysteriously contracted a pneumonia and, after a long struggle for breath, she decided that enough was enough. Me, my sister and my brother were at her bed side when she died. It was the most earth-shattering thing I have ever experienced.... I bloody well saw my mum die...
For her funeral, we had a white coffin, a white hearse, and white flowers. It was appropriate, my mum was an innocent caught up in crap in many ways she didn't deserve. The service was serene and beautiful. We played her favourite music (Bridge over Troubled Water, El Condor Pasa, and some more beautiful music) and the whole family and lots of friends, neighbours and acquaintances (even some people we hadn't seen for years) were there. It was heartbreaking and hope-inspiring at the same time.
Rest In Peace, lovely mum. I still can't believe you're really gone.... We'll meet again, I'm sure of it.