May you never lie, steal, cheat or drink
But if you must lie, lie in each other’s arms
If you must steal, steal kisses
If you must cheat, cheat death
And if you must drink, drink with us, your friends
My cousin Sjoukje suffered from the disease ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerose). When she celebrated her fortieth birthday in december 2008 they named the party: Celebrate love and life. Unfortunately she passed away in June 2009. Only 40 years old, wife and mother of three little children. I myself was 43 at that time and mother of two children and I couldn’t imagine what it would be like not seeing your own children grow up. Three years before that I lost my own mother. She had cancer and past away in 2006. Soon after that I got my first burn out.
It was that moment I choose that quote to be mine for the rest of my life. I translated it in Dutch: Vier het leven en de liefde.
But choosing a quote isn’t the hard part, but living up to it….that’s really the hard part.
It took me until now to finally life up to the quote. Not that I didn’t try but there was always an excuse. My husband needed me, the children needed me, my father needed me, the family needed me, my work needed me. Things go as they go and there is something good in everything. But suddenly you realize that there always be an excuse if you don’t change it yourself. And I learned it the hard way.
In october 2016 I had my second burn out and suddenly my whole world fell apart.
“Cause I’m to proud,
I’m too strong.
Live by the code that you gotta move on”.
For about three months I lived in the dark. I lay in my bed, and from my bed I got downstairs to the couch and at the end of the day back to bed. I couldn’t find the energy of getting something done, not walking the dog or doing some shopping, not even cooking a meal for my family. I couldn’t even think. It was all a big black hole.
I started reading books but in the end I couldn’t tell you what the books were all about. I saw series and movies on Netflix but the day after I couldn’t remember what I saw.
It was at that time I started to write down what was going on in my mind. By writing things down my mind was set at ease.
It was in this dark period that I knew one thing for sure. When I would come to the end of the dark tunnel I would never go back there. I had to change my life.
If my quote for life was: Celebrate love and life, I damn well start living by it or it would not have any meaning at all. Anastacia wrote it so well in her song:I paid my dues:
I done made it through.
Stand on my own two.
I paid my dues.
Tried to hold me down.
You can’t stop me now.
I paid my dues.
Bit by bit I picked myself up. With Spotify on my iPhone, I walked for hours and hours through the woods finding comfort in the lyrics of songs. I asked a friend if she would go mountain biking with me again, also once a week. And every week I started to feel a little better. But what about my work. There would be a day I had to go back and only thinking about it made me sweat all over. I couldn’t do it anymore. I remember standing with Dex (my dog) in the woods and yelling real hard: ‘I can’t take care anymore, I can’t take care of all of you’.
I had to start taking care of me, and those I love the most; my family. And that was about the most heaviest decision I ever made. So half past february I decided to quite my job. After 27 years of working as a mentor for children with special needs in primary schools I quit. I couldn’t do it any longer. It didn’t make me happy.
Now that decision was made, I had to start thinking about how did I want to celebrate love and life? How was I going to do that? It had to start with me:
It’s my life,
it’s now or never.
I ain’t gonna live forever.
I just want to live while I’m alive.
It’s my live
Bon Jovi understood and so I started by making some sort of list. You already read the list on my home page. And so here it is my first story and it scares the hell out of me publishing it…..