Farewell, My Dear Dad

With teardrops running down my face, I bid you farewell. It is with great sadness and deep regret that I inform you of the passing of my Dad. My Dad passed away on Sunday, December 27. 

My father passed away peacefully in his sleep but I am so grateful I spoke to his deepest soul that evening while he was holding and squeezing my hand. 

Burying my father this Saturday was one of the hardest things I ever did. But I am happy he’s back home, in the village where he lived for almost 95 years. And I believe he’s reunited with my mother, sister and brother, up there.

I know you are listening out there, somewhere. There are no goodbyes. May you rest in peace, my dear Dad. Your memories will never be forgotten. 

º 11-03-1925/† 27-12-2020

Farewell, My Dear Sister

Goodnight, sweet princess. It is with great sadness that I have to announce the passing of my dear Sister. Hild passed away over the weekend after bravely battling a vicious disease. She was a much loved person and she will be deeply missed by my Father, her husband, her son, her grandchild, family members and close friends.

I will never forget our moments together, enjoying espressos before noon. Mr. Bowie loved her company too and never left her side. But now you are far away, far away and so close. I wish I could find comfort in the thought she’s in good company with our Mother and Brother. I miss you so much.

It’s so hard to believe in anything anymore. How can you take religion seriously? Life sucks big time. Cancer is a bitch.

Let us go now, my darling companion
Set out for the distant skies
See the sun, see it rising
See it rising, rising in your eyes

“Distant Sky” – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

 

Slaap nu maar zacht en zonder pijn, lieve Hild. Ik zal mijn dappere zus, espresso maatje, luisterend oor en soulmate hard missen. Je zal voor altijd in onze gedachten blijven.

Kanker is een smeerlap.

 

Hild

° 15-10-1953/† 03-03-2017

88

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Espresso time. My espresso capsules order arrived today and as always, Mr. Bowie conducted a thorough control to ensure the overall quality. Every time Mr. Bowie wakes up and smells the coffee, he knows it’s time for a treat.

Today is my mother’s birthday so I raise my espresso cup to her. She taught me to drink and enjoy coffee when I was a child. She would have turned 88 today. Happy Birthday Mom, wherever you are.

Mother’s Day

Assumption of Mary. In this part of the world, the area around Antwerp, people celebrate Mother’s Day on 15 August. We believe that the classical Mother’s Day in May is an invention for commercial reasons.

My Mother passed away 13 years ago. I still think about her every day and miss her dearly.

Scan

Cherish every moment you have with the ones you love and realize how important they are in your life. Let me hug you, Mr. Bowie.

First Task

Evening school. I went back to school yesterday evening and got my first lesson: a brief introduction to digital photography. My homework is: take three photographs of two isolated trees.
My Mother bought these Osmanthus trees 23 years ago and planted them in my yard.

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The Cook the Cat & His Lovers

Mother Cook

“My mother gave me a real kick toward cooking, which was that if I wanted to eat, I’d better know how to do it myself.” – Daniel Craig

The last thing my Mother taught me before she died 12 years ago was how to make coffee pudding. It became my speciality. The recipe is a well kept secret, so, don’t ask.
I’m cooking for my Dad on the weekends. We eat a lot of pasta and rice in combination with fish or vegetarian stuff. Yesterday I made an authentic Mexican rice dish. But I think it scared him off.

Contagion

Maybe it was just to hot and spicy…

On the Bench

Hold on to the things you love. Here are two more things we found while we were cleaning out my parents’ house. The flat iron was used by my Grandmother and my Mother. The iron was heated on a charcoal heater.
The second thing is an old kilogram weight from my Mother’s grocery store.

Relics 1

Relics 2

A few words about the Pitch Pine bench. In the past, Pitch Pine was a major source of mine timbers in the Belgian coal industry because the wood’s high resin content preserves it from decay. I guess the bench was made by my Grandfather. We found it in a dreadful condition in the basement. The bench is restored by a professional furniture restorer. Mr. Bowie seems to like it.

Bank 2

Saying Farewell to a Home

A tearful goodbye to a house. Today I said goodbye to a home. This is the last time I’ll see the house as it has been for decades. This house holds so many feelings. It’s my parents’ house.

Today I walked around with my camera and documented each room that I remember so well, each of my favorite spots to go as a child, and then as a teenager, and now as an adult. I greeted each memory one last time.

Goodbye and good luck. It’s time to move on. Thank you for all the memories.

Mother

There is a door we all walk through.
And on the other side I’ll meet you.

(“Doo-Wop in Harlem” – Prefab Sprout)

Today is my mother’s birthday. She would have turned 85 today. My mother passed away in June 2001. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about her. There isn’t a day I don’t miss her.

The cat in this photo is Jones. She was my mother’s favorite cat, they were always together. Jones passed away in July this year.  Sometimes I like to believe that they are back together on the other side.

Happy Birthday Mom, wherever you are.

Celebration

We have a lot to celebrate today. It’s my dad’s 87th birthday. Dad is one of the oldest inhabitants of the village. Some local officials will pay tribute to him later this afternoon. I am looking forward to it.
My dad is a World War II veteran, a devoted husband and caring father. Lately, my dad’s life wasn’t easy. He lost his wife, a son, his brother and his best friend. Dad had different bypass operations due to major blockages in several coronary arteries. But he never gave up on life. Respect! Love you dad.

Scientists have long observed that drinking wine seems to prolong life. Scientists discovered that wine has powerful effects on the brain, too. It protects against Alzheimer’s disease and it generally staves off mental decline. Today we drink to your health. Happy birthday dad. One more thing… Obviously Mr. Bowie paw-picked this soft balanced wine from Chile. Does anyone recognize the Black Cat?

Mijn vader (de Ba) wordt vandaag 87! Straf voor iemand die dacht dat hij niet ouder zou worden dan 63. Deze namiddag komen enkele ‘local officials’ in folkloristische klederdracht langs om hem te feliciteren. De Ba is namelijk één van de oudste inwoners van het dorp. Oud worden lijkt misschien plezant. Er zijn ook nadelen: het verliezen van een dierbare met of zonder afscheid, in beide gevallen een ontzettend moeilijke klap om te overwinnen. Maar straks heffen we het glas op de Ba. Gelukkige verjaardag!

Weak Spot #6

“There must be some kind of way out of here.” Said the cat to the tree.

Chain link fences protect a yard well. They provide a means for keeping large animals and difficult neighbours outside of the yard, and pets and my few close friends within the confines of the yard. However, very smart and innovative cats like Mr. Bowie can find ways to get through the fence. Today, he discovered weak spot #6. Michael Scofield (a.k.a. Wentworth Miller) told me that there are seven. But the advantages of a cat-friendly-fence largely outweigh its disadvantages.

This tree has a special meaning to me. It’s an Osmanthus tree. My mother planted the tree more than 20 years ago. It reminds me every day of why family is so important. We still miss our mother. And our brother.

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