It was six years ago today.
Six years ago today I lost her.
Six years ago today I lost my Mum. Mummy. Mummily. Mama. Mumu.
Six years ago today we lost her.
We lost our Mum. We lost our best friend.
Six years ago today I made the longest lasting journey of my life.
It was the day before, the 12th of June, 2011. I woke up earlier than usual, there must have been a feeling inside me that something was up. I was in a bed and breakfast with my partner at the time, Jeffrey, in Groningen.
The evening before we’d been to see one of my all time favourite bands, Band of Horses, in the Oosterpoort. I wouldn’t particularly mention this, but it is part of the story I have to tell.
A summer ago, I’d bought a Band of Horses cd while on holiday in Canada, this would be summer 2010. My parents and sisters and brothers had emigrated to Canada in 2007. This was one of my yearly visits. That summer I hung out with my Mum a lot! We bonded like we’d never done before. I guess the period had commenced that the parent-child relationship was forming into a more mature one. One in which we were more on the same level. I was more of an adult than I’d ever been. I don’t know if this is a thing, if it happens with everyone, but it felt like our relationship changed that summer, in a positive way. I’d always felt close to my Mum but after that summer I felt so much closer to her. Perhaps it’s just that we were both adults now. We spent lots of time together in Mummy’s café, on the campsite she and Eppo had bought and turned into something amazing. Either Mummy was cooking or I was. It’s something me and Mummy always did, spent time in the kitchen together. It’s where I learnt from the best. While we were cooking we’d have music on. This time I was doing the cooking, so I chose the music, it was my new Band of Horses cd, for me a new discovery at the time. It had been on for a couple of songs and Mummy asked, “Who is this? Because I absolutely love it!” Throughout the rest of that last week together, we listened to the cd on several occasions and when I was all ready for leaving, she asked if I’d grabbed my cd from the café, I told her I had. “Shit!” she joked “I was hoping you’d accidentally forget it.”
So that’s where Band of Horses comes into the story. A band me and my Mum both fell in love with at about the same time. The evening of the Band of Horses concert, I couldn’t stop thinking about Mummy. All night she was in my head, throughout the whole concert. It was a fantastic show and I wished she was there the whole time.
It was the morning after the concert, the 12th of June 2011, that I woke up way too early for my doing. Grabbed my phone, just to check the time probably, instead seeing a screen full of Facebook messages and long distance phone calls from my sisters and brothers, all pretty much telling me the same thing, that I needed to call, I needed to call now, that there was something up with Mummy, that she was in the hospital.
This is were the world as I knew it crashed and burned and started to fall apart.
Now I could go and tell the whole story here, but I think I’m going to save that for another time and place. Perhaps a book one day.
Fast forward to my arrival in the hospital in Sudbury, Ontario about 30 hours after the initial messages that things were not good and after the longest trip of my life by train, car, plane, car…
I’m not sure what time I arrived, chaperoned all the way from Holland by Eppo’s brother Fab, I think it was around seven in the evening Canadian time. I do have it all written down somewhere, but in my memory it is a fog. I know it was evening. After being directed to the floor Mummy was on and the little room that was allocated to my family, we arrived in said little room to hugs and tears from my two brothers, William and Joop. Freya and Rowan were with Mummy and Eppo was somewhere, I’m not sure where. A nurse asked me if I wanted to go to my Mum now or wait for Eppo. I was kind of scared and for some reason said wait for Eppo.
Now nothing was clear for me at this time, I was there thinking my Mum is strong, my Mum pulls through everything, she’ll be fine, she will fight. William’s story seemed to confirm those thoughts.
When Eppo appeared in the room there were more hugs and tears. Eppo said we should go to see Mummy, I walked with him arm in arm through the corridor leading to Mummy’s room and half way there the nurse from before came rushing towards us from the other direction saying we needed to hurry. She rushed us down the corridor and into the room where my Mummy was lay, with Freya and Rowan sat at the end of her bed.
That moment, that very moment I entered that room, is the moment my Mummy, our Mummy, our oh so wonderful Mummy, passed away, passed on, left us… She had waited, she had fought, she had held on, she had stayed until she could no longer. She’d held on until that very moment that she knew her family was whole again, together, complete. She’d waited for my arrival, because she knew that then it would be okay for her to leave, because we’d be together.
That last thing she did for us, is the perfect example of our Mummy and the amazing person she was. Absolutely everything she did in life was for us, it was to make sure we had an incredible life. We did. We did because she taught us how to love life the way she loved life. She had so much passion and she was so full of energy. She knew that for her to leave us she needed us to all be together so that in the end we could be alright. I know with one hundred percent certainty that that is the reason she held on for so long. Seven to nine hours longer than the doctors had apparently said she would manage I heard later on. She fought for us, which is what she always did, always. If she could have stayed with us, she would have, she would have had it no other way, but it was her time to go. Something which it took me a very long time to accept.
I just want to spend a few more words on the admirable person my Mummy was. She was there for us no matter what. Not just for us but for pretty much anybody. She had so much love to give, and she gave and she gave and she gave. She loved life and her children and husband, Eppo, to her absolute fullest. When Mummy would come into a room she would light up the room. There was always fun and laughter. She was beautiful, something she never saw herself, so humble. She did so many amazing things because she dared to just do them.
My Mummy is and always will be my first and foremost example of how to be and how to live and how to love. Everything she did was with great passion and joy and that is the only way I would want to live. She made a huge impact on anyone she met, with her kindness and generosity. There are too little words in any language to describe her completely. She was like an orb of light and energy and she has left that light and energy in everyone she has ever met. She has filled her children with that light and energy and it carries on in us today. I am so proud of who my Mum was, I am so proud to be able to call myself her daughter and I am so proud of my sisters and brothers, Freya, Rowan, William and Joop. looking back on the last six years we have all become amazing human beings and we are all going to do and be so much more.
I carry with me in my heart forever and always Mummy, your light, your energy, your passion. Because of you I am never going to give up on all my hopes and dreams. I am going to live life to its absolute fullest. I am going to make you proud.
I love you and I always will <3