‘On one of the most beautiful winter days ever I said goodbye to my mother’ | Columns & Opinion

I played music in the car that I thought she would like. That was still quite difficult. A few months ago my father passed away, he breathed music. My mother was less than that. She loved beautiful things, fine fabrics, glittering stones. While my father was mainly auditory, my mother was more focused on the visual. She had enjoyed such a sunset. But she wouldn’t see him today. You have to go outside for that and if she goes outside again later, she won’t see anything anymore. Then she’s gone.

Four weeks

The whole story took barely four weeks. For example, I sit with her at her doctor’s office: ‘Sorry madam, we can’t do anything for you anymore’; she lies in a hospital bed in the living room. The shortness of breath has taken her voice away. And she loved to talk. Get used to it, the sound of an oxygen tank. Just like the sticker on the door that warns of fire-hazardous equipment in the home. I don’t even see it anymore.

closing scene

I put a small Christmas tree next to her bed. “I’ll buy you another big one in 2022,” I say. We both know I’m fooling both her and myself. There will be no Christmas 2022, not for her. On the way I pick up my daughter who is studying in Utrecht. Today she had the presentation of a play she wrote. About her grandmother, who will soon die. Also a crazy apotheosis: I called her that the end was really approaching, right during the assessment interview. Like we cared; the grand finale. Coincidence does not exist.

I will cry soon

She is thinner than a few days ago. As if she is slowly dissolving. “I’m dying,” she whispers. ‘I don’t want to be laid out. And let me be cremated. Would that hurt?’ ‘No’, I say, ‘pain is a signal from the brain. When you’re dead, your brain stops working. Then they can no longer register pain.’ I like explaining things better than crying. I’ll do that later.

A new year without parents

The doctor comes to make all the preparations for the final end. I’m going into a new year without mom. And without a father. My Brabant roots have been torn loose. There is nothing that now binds me to the province where I was born. Okay, relatives still live there, but my direct connections have been cut. When I drive back to the North, the moon is a lot higher. No more gold, but small and white. It’s the shortest day of the year.

And then I think of Brabant, because it gets dark there.

Source: De Telegraaf by www.telegraaf.nl.

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