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Dear Diary,

Published on 25 November 2017 at 22:57

Dear diary, when you have two days off and then lie in bed with a fever. I still just don't know anymore. It's just so hard. Christmas is coming, I just have to work. But it is the very first Christmas without mommy with us. My mother was the one who kept Christmas alive, she loved it so much. I think I'm completely skipping Christmas this year, what do you think? I celebrate Sinterklaas with my father and his wife, with her kids. We have a surprise evening there, the son of my father's wife has a daughter of three years old and of course she still believes in Sinterklaas.

I sleep with them and then I go back to Groningen the next day. I am free the next day and I am soon on the train for 3 to 4 hours. Except December 8th, then I have to work, but otherwise I'm free.

Because my mother passed away in September this year, I often think about what my funeral or cremation will look like when I die. Bizarre, that with my age, you start to think about that. I am only twenty-three years old. But what kind of music will be playing, for example. My mother never talked about her choices and because of this we didn't know what she wanted and we just chose as children.

I hope I never have to experience in my life such a beautiful woman dying of a disease like cancer. A song I want on my cremation anyway is the same song as on mom's cremation: "Bed of Roses - Bon Jovi". In addition, you can have about five to seven songs played, depending on how large a group of people there are and how long your service lasts. The second song will be "You are the reason - Calum Scott" anyway. I don't know if anyone will ever read this when I die, but at Mom's we all improvised with them too.

Unfortunately, my mother never spoke of a funeral or cremation. We ultimately opted for cremation, so that she could have a peaceful end. Instead of leaving it rot in a coffin underground. It's actually a shame that Mom was so afraid of her death. We have asked her so many times, what do you want now? Suppose you are no longer there, what would you like. But we have never been able to get a serious answer to that. Except for our little Benjamin, the youngest of the four children. My younger sister had the best relationship with Mom, she lived in Spain before my mom got sick. She worked there as an aupair, with a Dutch family. She was having a great time.

Until one point in May 2017, when she told the news that she would come back to the Netherlands for good. She didn't give any reason yet. Afterwards everyone already knew that Mama was sick, except me. I have been through so much in my entire life and my mother has been the reason why I have had such a different life than my brother and sisters. According to my mother I was "severely handicapped", which is why my sister would tell me the reason when she would be in the Netherlands for a weekend. This was around the twenty-fourth and twenty-sixth of May 2017. My sister came to Vught especially for this, where I lived for a while, before I moved to Lisbon, Portugal for work.

At the time I always thought that my sister was pregnant and had therefore made the choice to come back. But it turned out to be something completely different. She asked me to quietly say while I was still joking, so exciting.. you are definitely pregnant. My sister immediately covered her face and then she told me .. Mama has cancer, the tears rolled down my cheeks one by one, but how and how far, will she survive when she starts the chemo. These questions were to be expected, but unfortunately there were no answers yet.

Mama had already had surgery and they replaced her windpipe with an iron stent. And they found cancer, if mom had been brought in three seconds later, she would not have survived. More investigations followed. Despite Mom's illness, I continued my journey to Portugal. My sister landed back in the Netherlands on June 21, 2017. Because as a surprise she wanted to be with mom for her birthday. Mama turned fifty-eight years old on June 24, 2017. On June 21, we received the news that my mother's brother had committed suicide. He died of his injuries. Less than half a day later, on June 21 around 19:00, mom comes with the following news: "she is terminally ill".

They can't do anything for her anymore. Mum wanted to waste some time and is therefore going to start radiation. But instead of two extreme weeks, she does the entire radiation in two days. On June 24, 2017, Mom turned fifty-eight years old. Mama also knows that my decision is made and I will move to Lisbon anyway to build a future there.

It is therefore a very mixed feeling. Doctors give mom one more year to live with the radiation treatments. In Lisbon I hardly have any contact with my mother. I thought it would be better for me to leave my entire life behind and build my new future abroad. I tried to make contact before I even left for Lisbon, but my stepfather wouldn't let me. At one point he told me to stop contacting me. In the end I also decided to stop looking for contact.

At one point I was told by my brother and sisters that my mother was deteriorating rapidly. And that if I wanted to make it right or at least close it right, that I had to come home now. That's why I said, I'll fly home and then I can be with my mother for a while, as far as my stepfather allows this. On September 6, 2017 I flew back to the Netherlands. I was still busy with other jobs abroad, also really wanted to go to Dublin. I came back and would fly again after one or two weeks. I was able to stay with my father temporarily again.

I also tried to get in touch with my mother on a daily basis, all I heard from my stepfather was that my mother never wanted to see me again, I would be the cause of her cancer. I heard from my brother and sisters that my mother wanted so much contact with me, why I did not seek this. But my stepdad just wouldn't allow this in any way. Until the day of September twenty-seven, 2017, my older sister suddenly called me. We had a whatsapp group, especially for all the updates about mom's illness, everyone told me when I was still living in Portugal that everything was going well with my mom..

But on September twenty-eight I decided to go to my mother with my older sister. My stepfather was working and not at home. Best way to see my mom because I was told she wouldn't make it next week. My sister told me that Mom had changed a lot and that there wasn't much left of her and that I shouldn't be scared.

With this thought in my head, I quietly walked up the stairs and there was someone on the bed. Somewhere far away it was Mama, all I could see were bones. I was shocked, the last time I saw Mom was June 24, on her birthday. Less than three and a half months later there is nothing left in bed. Mama is no longer there, I still stroke Mama on her shoulders and back, I notice that there is only a skeleton in bed. It's nothing anymore, she's slowly disappearing. I try to help mom, by not being afraid of death anymore, I talk to her calmly and indicate that it is time to go, she has fought like a heroine, but now it is enough and she can let go.

We, the four children she brought into the world, raised, we are all so very proud of her, that she fought so hard. I'm still trying to ask her if I'm really to blame for her illness. But I don't get a response anymore, my mother is no longer able to talk. I try not to cry, to hide my pain and sorrow. I just can't bear it anymore and slowly try to say goodbye to my mother, because this is probably the last time I'll see her. But how do you say goodbye to your mother in five minutes, when you know you'll never see her again?

I tell my mother that I love her so very much that I don't blame her, everyone makes mistakes, we are not perfect, but this doesn't make me love her less. My mother still responds: I love you too Jopie. That was my nickname. I quietly walk down the stairs, so quiet that my mother doesn't notice either. And in the living room I break, I can't take it anymore. My older sister hugs me, hugs me and kisses me on the head. She says it will be fine. Deep down I know it's not going to be okay. Mama's going to die, there's no doubt about that. At the end of the day I go back to papa by train.

I really don't feel like it at all, because if anyone doesn't understand how I feel, it's my father. They broke up with a fight divorce, they made each other's life miserable for years. My father also texted my mother earlier that year and tried to call her after we announced that she was so seriously ill. And my father then responds to us respectfully, until we saw the text message and the missed calls. I have saved the message: "I have understood from our four kids that the end is approaching for you. Under normal circumstances, I don't wish this on anyone. I hope the end of this life will give you peace and an inspiration to do better in your next life, for all the misery you have caused in this life, for me, for our children, for GJ, for your parents and many who had faith in you. You experience your end alone, the moment when everything goes through you in a flash. I hope you will not suffer physically and hope that you eventually know what you are leaving behind. Four kids who will survive thanks to me! Rest in peace." - sent by my father on 10-06-2017 at 6:20 pm

So my father would only be happy if my mother died. The next morning I don't get out of bed until 4 pm and in the evening when I eat dinner, I hardly eat anything. I indicate that it is not fair and also want to be near mom. The four of us have stood at her bedside to say goodbye, so that mom finds death less scary. But I don't want to have to sit on the train for two hours to get to her.

Despite the text message my father sent earlier this year, he understands me immediately, I had not expected. But somehow, his previous wife, the woman who came after my mother and before his current wife, also died of lung cancer in 2015. And maybe that's why he understood me better. Everyone called by now, but I couldn't sleep with anyone. My sister and sister slept with my mother and stepfather. My stepfather wouldn't even have me near my mother. He even made it a problem when the four of us wanted to say goodbye to my mother.

My father therefore books a hotel room for one night at the "van der valk hotel in Zaltbommel". My brother picks me up from the station and then drops me off at the hotel, I check in and my brother walked me for a while. He immediately indicated that I should put my phone on sound, if it suddenly is over, that he can call me immediately and pick up. He left, I waved them again once. And of course I couldn't sleep at all, so I went for a drink in the hotel restaurant.

Here I met an old acquaintance, I used to play a lot with her and her sister is my sister's best friend. Of course she immediately wondered what I was doing there. And when she was done with work, we would chill out, outside. We tell each other everything, as of old. She wishes me all the best and goes home. I immediately go back to my hotel room. I have now turned on my TV, because I can't sleep yet. Finally it is three o'clock in the morning before I finally fall asleep.

I had set my alarm clock around 9 am, because check out was at 11 am and then I could go with my brother right after that. Before I fell asleep I had the feeling that it would soon be over, because now Mom had all four kids within reach. My feelings almost never let me down. At 07:00 am I get a call, I wake up: with me. My brother reacts on the other side. We're too late, mom passed away at 6:35 AM. We'll be with you in 15 minutes. Okay, then I'll get dressed and check out. Am I so with you, says my brother.

I am completely silent inside. I check out quietly and my brother indicates that my stepfather does not know that I am coming. But my brother's girlfriend already indicates that otherwise she would have a hearty word, because I will remain my mother's daughter. I immediately walk upstairs, my mother is lying there, with her mouth open, on the bed. My stepfather sits at the end of the bed, my sister in tears on the bed and my older sister next to it. I wish my stepfather strength and condolences and come and sit on the bed with him. My stepdad goes downstairs, my older sister takes over the seat and then goes downstairs too. I comfort my sister, who stood by her side 24/7 until Mom's death. I also say goodbye to my mother and kiss her icy forehead. And walk down slowly. She's gone.

For twenty-three years I have been able to enjoy a beautiful woman, sweet person, wonderful mother and a real enjoyment of life at heart. But on September 30, 2017, Saturday morning at 7:35 AM, Mom breathed her vigorous fighting last breath.

It pleases me that I can relive it all again and thus write it off. I have no one who loves me intensely, as my mother has always kept doing deep down. I have no friends who support me in this, a father who can understand me in this. I have an older brother, sister and younger sister who are going through the same thing but they have enough friends, family and loves that they can handle it. Unfortunately I can't even count my friends on one hand. That's why I'm writing it all off me. Hoping that I'm getting better. Hoping to one day be truly happy. For now I'll be sick and sleep well.

Posted on: 23-11-2017

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