Just the way it is

Outside of Antwerp, in the town of Reet, is a house that sits now empty. Sure there’s still some furniture, kitchen supplies, towels, all the odds & ends one needs for a weekend stay. It is empty though of the warmth that once filled it, there is no life, no movement, and certainly all the laughter that was shared there over the years has now faded away. Later today, I will become part owner of this house. I’ll never live there and it will never really be ours. Actually, it’s a house that we would give anything in the world not to have be ours. It should still be hers, Moeke’s house. But the cards weren’t dealt out that way and cancer doesn’t play by our rules.

Moeke is gone and her house is empty. Never again and no more …

We chose to move to Belgium so that we could help her as she got older – all the fixes and renovations that we’re doing now for someone else, an unknown, we would have been doing for her. We were too late. She got sick quickly and was gone before we could even begin to fathom life without her. She was my mother-in-law but she always treated me as her own family. She taught me so many things about life, kindness and carrying on despite hardship. Of course we had our moments of not seeing eye to eye: stubborn vs steadfast. I understand now though how much alike we were in certain aspects and that what we disagreed on we actually agreed on … strange but anyway.

I have my grief. My husband has his. The loss for her granddaughters is something else … we’re working on it.

Mieke, we miss you. There isn’t a day that goes by that the girls don’t talk about you. Today will be a tough one.



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