Dealing with Death

Dealing with Death

Death is tough, especially for those who have lost someone dear, for those who have seen someone die, for those who are left alone. Death is tough, especially for the person realising that their days are numbered when they are scared of death.

Death is not easy. Dealing with it is not easy either.

Rose

When I was 5 my great grandfather died, his death marked me in a way no other death did, but more on that at another time. I saw his lifeless body, I was not scared, this was the first time that I had encountered death. If I remember well, he died during the night while working on some research.

When I was 10 my great grandmother died. Fragile like a young baby she was lying lifeless in her hospital bed where she had drawn her last breath. Up until a few days before she was still an active woman within the many walls of her home. Continue reading “Dealing with Death”

3 months

This is a little piece that I wrote yesterday (24th of Mai 2016), which does explain my recent blogging silence. Hopefully posting it will get me out of the slump. 

3 months

3 months ago my mother drew her very last breath.

I still cannot believe it. I cannot seem to grasp this new reality.

Sometimes things are very tough. Especially when realization comes crashing down on me like a tsunami.

3 months is a long time. So much can happen in 3 short months. I watched my daughter grow, develop an impressive bilingual vocabulary. I thought about my past, my present and what I want for my future. I got my creativity going again. Still these last three months have been foggy I am not experimenting Spring the way I did last year. I never experienced Spring so intensely as I did last year. I had no idea that the interests Spring so far would be the last one with my mother.  Continue reading “3 months”

B is for Book #AtoZChallenge

B is for Book

I read the book, quickly, the way I devoured the likes of Harry Potter and other childhood favourites. It was the first time that I read an ebook and that on my phone. I suddenly had a hard time putting down that computer we call phone (I don’t actually use it that much for calling). While I read the book, about the three ghost children, who had way too early lost their lives and who were stuck in our world fighting evil entities and trying to figure out how to go to the nice place, I thought of my mom, because I was sure that this was the type of story she would love to read.

Book, From Cornflakes to Eternity by S.D.GatesThe book, From Cornflakes to Eternity (here’s my review of it), written by fellow blogger S.D. Gates, who I had the pleasure ‘meeting’ during last year’s A to Z Challenge, she was too late to sign up on the official website, but participated anyways, I am glad that she did, because I might not have found out about her first book. I found out after the challenge that she had a book out in the wild, waiting for reads and reviews, when she had a special offer for it on kindle. So yes, I read it for free, but reading it I longed to pay for what I was reading. Continue reading “B is for Book #AtoZChallenge”

“I remember” – the speech I did not give

Stain AngelOn the 23rd of February 2016, my mother passed away. Exactly one month ago. Just in case the opportunity would have arisen at her funeral for a little speech (I held a speech at my grandmother’s funeral), I sat down and jotted down a few words in honour of my mother. Today, I want to recopy them and finally share them with the world. 


I want to share some memories of Nicola, who accompanied me for the first 27 years 6 months and 3 days of my life. I’ll start from the beginning…

Dear Nicola,

I remember how you and Moritz were having a mud fight, that I was not very fond of… this must be one of my earliest memories

I remember sitting inside of the basket that you had on the back of your bike.

To stay with biking, a passion you seemed to have, I remember how you ran after me while you taught me how to ride my own bike (I was a little short of 3 years old).

I remember your marriage, sorry, I was a bit of a pest.

I remember how you would meet me on the way home from school, when I was playing instead of walking home. Sorry for all those unnecessary worries. Continue reading ““I remember” – the speech I did not give”

Compassion, I never asked for it – #1000Speak

Sometimes life takes paths that we do not want it to take. Sometimes things happen that we know will happen, but that we do not want to happen. There is a thing called death, dying, loosing a loved one, that we are never completely ready for, even if everything points into that direction.

Last month, just 3 days, after I posted my #1000Speak post, my mother passed away. In that very post I wrote about how I learnt about compassion during the last year, I did not mention how important my mother has been in teaching me about compassion. She could always lend an ear to a friend who needed listening to, or helped when it was possible to do so. I recall her being completely shattered by the situation in Libya a few years back, for her following the news was never a good thing.

Never in my life have I felt so much compassion from others than in this past month. Once we started to announce to family, friends and acquaintances that she had left us, the words of condolences, compassion and love started flooding our lives. Of course these words will not be able to fill in the emptiness that my mother’s passing has left behind, but maybe these acts of compassion will help with the healing and keeping a vivid memory of her.

Every email,
every hug,
every smile,
every tear,
every “I am so sorry”
every “stay strong”
every “courage”
every “your mother was a great woman”
every card,
every word written,
every word spoken,
every phone call,
every “oh s***!”,

was a sign of heartfelt compassion!

Condolences I have not read every card, or email, or sentence written in the condolence book. I have not replied to any messages friends send me or comments that I received on this post regarding my mother’s passing away. I am taking my time, because with every day I realise a bit more what has happened, and every day I can heel a bit more. All this compassion definitely helps.

Maybe you can imagine how touched I was by the tears of the caretaker of one of the neighbouring houses, when she asked me how my mother was doing and I told her that she had died. Her expressed compassion led me to comfort her myself. Or when I bought my eggs at the boucher’s the day he had received the card, his heart seemed broken. He told me that all day he had thought about the news and how even he never really knew my mother, her passing away marked him more than usually. Maybe it was her continuous smile, and her deep-seated kindness, she did not care what someone did for a living or how they dressed, all that counted was that you were another human being worth at least a smile, a nod and a “hello”. Only this week I crossed the path of young boy living in my parent’s building, he stopped me to say his condolences and was on the brink of tears, and that when he barely knew her.

I was touched by the emails I received. A friend from school found out though my blog post Breaking the Silence, his email is so kind and encouraging, bubbling with strengthening compassion. A fellow blogger wrote me an email once she read my post, another act of compassion. And all of your comments on that very post have been so moving, so full of love and compassion. Thank you!

I never asked for any of the compassion I have received this past month. I had no idea that there would be so much compassion in such a situation. But I am grateful for all of this compassion.

Again, thank you!

For everyone out there who is compassionate, thank you! You are making someone’s life a bit easier today. You are the ray of light on a cloudy day.


This post is part of the #1000Speak linkup, this month’s theme is compassion and happiness, but I have focused only on compassion. Please make sure to check out the other posts of the linkup, and maybe join this month with your own post?


© Solveig Werner 2016. All rights reserved.

Breaking the Silence

pink rosesI have been silent for some time now. The month of February only say 7 posts, of which two were guest posts (if you have not read them yet, please check them out). One was about Carnival in Cologne by Conny Kaufmann and the other about Mardi Gras by Diana Gordon. I did not promote their posts as much as I would normally do.

I did not join in  #WeekendCoffeeShare since the 4th Saturday of January, and it is an event that I absolutely love and rarely miss. I made sure to participate in #1000speak on the 20th of February, the only post that was published in the 2nd half of the month. I have been almost completely absent from twitter and from my favourite blogs. I read less than I normally do, I commented less than usually, and I replied to almost no comment. Some of my readers and friends are waiting for me to reply to their emails, I will reply soon.

Some of my readers knew what was going on. Some send me messages to check if everything was ok. I am here, and I will be back but since mid January things have been tough, really tough actually.

Last May, my mother had been diagnosed with a very rare cancer, after months of treatment, chemo, then an oral chemo (tablets), and even immunotherapy the medical staff announced that the treatments could no longer be continued. This announcement was, if I recall correctly, on the 20th of January.

In the week that followed, I was alone with little one (psychologically this was hard, especially when realisation of what was going to happen, hit me like a high speed train), but made sure to spend a lot of time with my mom, she lived only 300m away, which makes things easier especially when you have a toddler in tow. I spend a weekend in Antwerp, and then spend as much time as I could with my mom during the month of February. This meant I was either working, replying to emails regarding lesson requests, or with my mom. I did not see S much, when I was at home I was either out of the house spending quality time with my mom or working.

Over the past weeks, I saw many members of my family and friends, who came to visit my mom. Thanks to their presence things were probably a less straining. Still, things were definitely exhausting.

Last week was the 1st week of the February vacation, most of my students were away on holidays, and I decided to not schedule any new lessons. What am I glad that I said that I am taking a week off! I guess deep inside me I knew things were not going to get better.

On Saturday, while her cousin and his wife were visiting, my mother decided that she did not want any more visitors. That she had no more force to see anyone.

Last week on Tuesday the 23rd of February 2016, the only day, since her initial diagnosis, that my mother did not get out of bed, she passed away in the evening of the same day.

Until my mother’s last breath, I was hoping, yes believing that there was a chance for a miracle!

This day, one week ago I lost my mother to cancer.

She was only 54 years old.

Today, my heart is aching, tears erupt on a regular basis.

Things will be different, always…

Today, I want to break the silence. I want to be active again. I want to do what my mother told me to do and what I promised her in silence as she was leaving.

Much love, Solveig ❤️

Chalk Lines

Last week, on the lookout for positive images from Paris, I came across something that was both beautiful and sad. Maybe sad is not the right term, maybe melancholic.

Dead leaf

I don’t stare at the ground, but keeping a vigilant eye is important as there can be some minor accidents regarding shoes, it has gotten a lot better over the last few years as the fines dog owners have to pay have risen… If you don’t clean up after your dog or carelessly cast away a cigarette bud and get caught the fine is now 68€!
So yes, I do look at the ground, but it is not where I expect to find beautiful things to take pictures of, especially if it is a sidewalk and not inside a park.

What I saw on the ground were chalk like lines that nature had traced around the corpses of dead leaves. Like a proper crime scene, the leaves were gone and the lines still remained.

Dead leaf I smiled and pulled out my phone  thinking of the beauty of dead leaves, of comical stories featuring leaf police officers. Leaves have a short life span, after a few months their death is imminent, but it does not seem as if they are mourned much. Or are they? Are those lines proof of nature mourning the dead leaves.

Do you sometimes come across unexpected things on the ground? Do things you see make you wander off into strange stories?


© Solveig Werner 2015. All rights reserved.

An unlikely death

IMG_2588

She dried her tears with her handkerchief.

There he lay, helpless, lifeless, cold, so fragile and so small in his wafer thin coffin.
He, who had been her best friend, her true love, her soulmate, her little brother, her twin.

Mother had always been worried about his health. The doctor had told them more than once, that they would be lucky if he reached the age of 7. But, he also underlined that it was unlikely that he would.

She thought of him. He had always enjoyed life, every single breath of it. They used to run through fields of dandelions, usually he was lagging behind panting. She never cared about his weaknesses, they had no impact on her unconditional love for him. And now, now his life had all the sudden come to a halt.

Instead of celebrating their birthday together, she was there to mourn his death. All of the birthday guests where now here for the funeral. But no one was sad, except for her.

He who had always been warned about dying too early, was never truly afraid of death. Maybe that was why death had always avoided him, until now.

She kissed his cold forehead and whispered: “Happy one hundredth birthday!”


Story and photo (hosted on flickr) by Solveig Werner