The thirtieth of March it was already five years ago that mamma died. So it is also more than five years ago that we saw the three of you. We still miss you every day. We miss the development of you.
Mamma’s death was so immensely sad. It still makes me very furious and very sad how she had to die. She didn’t earn that at all. If I am ready with putting the photographs of you on the website, I’ll start to write mamma’s life story. I can get a lot of information out of my daybook. If you are so far, you may read mamma’s life story. So mamma’s life story and mamma’s urn with her ashes are waiting for you. Until you are so far. I still want to underline one thing: she dearly loved the three of you. You were her reason for being. She knew she couldn’t go further without you.
We had nice weather in March. The garden is flowering like a real spring garden. That is why opa and I were often outside.
We were cutting back the laurel hedge between the garden of the neighbor and our garden. That row grew over the rhododendron and also the small pear-tree which mamma gave us some time was threatened to be overgrown. We sawed and cut back the hedge until one and a half meter. We won quite a piece of garden. But it was a lot of work.
I biked with opa to the Biesbosch. Across the Moerdijkbrug and then to the right onto the cycletrack to the Biesbosch. We finished at a small restaurant where we drank tea in the garden. Somewhat further we heard every now and then the starting off of a ferry-boat to Werkendam.
Opa and I do still bike a lot. Do you know that I’ll will put your small yellow bike near the street this Friday. Then the Primary School of Hooge Zwaluwe will gather second-hand stuff for the second-hand market from the streets. The profit will be for the school. Kirse is too big now for this bike. You three learnt biking on that small yellow bike, so did Finn and Kirse. Do you still recognize the small bike?
I have a woman next door who got pancreas cancer, a very aggressive cancer of which most of the people died in short time and I have a good girl-friend from my teacher training college who got intestinal cancer with a prognosis of only 30% of surviving. The woman next door had to undergo the most heavy courses of chemotherapy and my girl-friend should be operated, but was closed immediately after having been opened. She could not be operated, but also had to undergo heavy courses of chemotherapy too. But the tumor of the woman next door did not grow anymore after the course and my girl-friend was operated after the courses of chemotherapy and was totally clean. I am so happy for the two of them and the most happiest are the two themselves!
I went with Mieke, my girl-friend to the film Philomena. A very impressive film, in which the two-year-old son of Philomena was taken off from her by nuns of the convent and given to American foster parents. In the past century it was a shame when you got pregnant without being married. So Philomena who was pregnant, has to go to that convent and was not considered to bring up her child herself, because she was so sinful. In that convent she was isolated by the convent of society together with other so-called sinful women and later her two-year-old son was taken from her by heartless nuns. A very traumatic experience for Philomena. Each day she has to think of this child. Even when it was already fifty years ago that her son was taken away.
It is a research-journalist who together with her discovered her son has died from AIDS. The poor son returned to the convent to find his mother, but….the heartless nuns said that his mother didn’t want to know anything of him. It made the research-journalist, who knows how dearly Philomena wanted to see her son very very angry with the heartless nuns, but…..Philomena was able to forgive them.
The Reeuwijkse Plassen
To the north of Rotterdam and Gouda is situated a magnificent area around the Reeuwijkse Plassen. There I went for a fair walk with my girl-friends Tineke and Riekje. The weather was somewhat gray. The gray weather made the landscape more special and also typical Dutch with her large residences for the rich, but also with her lovely maintained small cottages. My girl-friend fell in love with one of those cottages.
Kirse received swimming-certificate B
With tante Daphne I bought the book “Jubelientje” for Kirse, because she passed her swimming-test for certificate B. Just like tante Daphne and Finn, Kirse is fond of reading. Every week they get heaps of books from the library, just like mamma did with you. I am curious if you are reading much. Lucas was so proud he could read his first books and you Mirabelle could read already and you read aloud with much expression. Do you still remember how good mamma could read aloud. I always loved to listen to her expressive way of reading aloud. Also tante Daphne loves to read aloud. So do I. And yes, also my mother loved to read. Every Saturday-evening we were read aloud by her. I was the youngest child and had five elder brothers and sisters. But oom Guus, the eldest one, stayed listening when my mother read aloud like all the others. And he was even ten years older than I. Those Saturday-evenings were invaluable to me as a child.
Iva Bicanic was taking her doctoral degree
Iva founded already four centers against sexual violence or the so-called rape centers. She is convinced that the reason that mamma didn’t get therapy after the rape and the sexual ill-treatment by the cook of a beach-restaurant in Rockanje where she did holiday-work, caused her Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Poor mamma didn’t tell it to opa, tante Daphne, me or her girl-friends. Probably she was ashamed by it, as so many victims of sexual violence are, Iva said. But it is much too heavy for a thirteen-year-old girl that has undergone such a heavy ill-treatment.
Mamma always was gravely concerned about you Mirabelle. She was so afraid when you would have the vulnerable age of thirteen or fourteen.
Iva Bicanic invited us to come on her promotion. If she may have to speak on congresses, she probably would ask us to tell about the consequences of mamma’s heavy rape. In Utrecht two rooms were filled with people who wanted to follow the defense of Iva and even in Groningen and Amsterdam people followed her defense on a screen.
Melang, Aarnout, Noel and Imana
Our opposite neighbors came to visit us. You played with Noel and Imana when you were with opa and oma in Hooge Zwaluwe. In 2004 they went to New-Zealand and Australia for 6 years. They were shocked when they came to hear in Australia that mamma died in such a tragic way. They remembered they must have photographs with you jumping on the trampoline in their garden. They will look for it, but here I have got a photograph from my own collection, where Mirabelle and Noel played the piano in our house.
Cleaning my cupboard
It was necessary to clean and bring order in my cupboard. It cost me a lot of time, because I found so many dear things in that cupboard. Among other things I found there many drawings of mamma. I have scanned two of them for you.
Here you see that mamma was born. Opa broke his ankle on the day mamma’s birth was foreseen, but she came twoweeks later and you see oma with little baby mamma and opa with his leg in plaster talking with (tante) Daphne. All in bed.
Here mamma and tante Daphne were taking a bath, when they were still small kids.
Kirse had got a good idea
Finn and Kirse are often biking in a splendid nature region with lots of birds like geese, black-tailed godwits, sea gulls, lapwings and so on. There only bikers are allowed, but all the highways around are repaired. So the cars are diverted, yes you guessed it already, through this natural region. Just like tante Daphne, Finn and Kirse do hate cars. That’s why Kirse opened her plans to me: at the beginning of this birds ‘region cars have to stop for a sign, on which you can read that you have to throw € 1,- into a box. And if the car drivers drive neatly beside or even behind the bikers, they will get back
€ 0,50 at the end. What do you think of such a brilliant idea?
One time a month Finn, Kirse and other children of recorder-lessons are allowed to exercise with the youth-orchestra. And Finn is allowed to choose another wind-instrument before summer-holidays.
Google on “Leesparadijs Middelburg” and you can find a poem of Finn and on the photographs you will see Finn too.
On the 19th of March there were local elections in the Netherlands. The political parties “the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy” and “the Labor Party” lost a lot of seats. “Democrats ’66 especially won many seats, either many local parties. The government existing out of the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy and the Labor Party lost the trust of many people.
President Obama was in the Netherlands on the top against chemical weapons. He is beloved by the Dutch people and he thought the Netherlands a “gezellig” country. Do you still know what “gezellig” means. The Americans don’t have a word for it.