Where does a story about a loved one begin? What do you write, highlight and what feeling do you want to express/transmit? Which words do you choose and which do you leave out? These are all questions you need answers to in a short time when someone has died. Sometimes you know what you want to say, but there are also many things that need to be taken care of. Time is short, too short to dive deep into the story. While that’s what you actually want to do. Retrieve memories, look at pictures, listen to music and talk about shared moments together. At such a breaking point in life, it is good to have someone beside you who can help write and tell the story at the farewell. Who can distill the common thread from those moments tumbling over each other. Because maybe you saw the end coming, but maybe not at all. Your life is upside down and now requires you to make important decisions. I can help you in these moments.
There are so many different ways to say goodbye to someone, and a story with fond memories and sometimes unasked questions help give a place to the parting, mourning and honoring of someone. There is no lead time for grieving and certainly no set script. Grieving is deeply personal and we all do it in our own way. As a ceremonial speaker, I accompany the family of someone who has died. I listen to the different stories and ask questions that others might not so easily ask. And with my big warm heart for connecting through language, I come to you to especially listen and discuss how the story may be told. What rituals you find important. Which poems, excerpts from books or films can be included in the ceremony. What music can be used as an accompaniment. And I write a story that I share with you in advance. So that you know what will be said and there are no double stories, which, however beautiful, do not make the whole thing better. I write stories and poems. In Dutch, English and French. Retell the story, the life story of someone you care so much about. Create a custom ritual that suits you. Think about the last words on the card and the prayer card. And I do this with heart and soul. For you. Every single time.
A special place in my heart are those who have died and have no next of kin. Where there is no family to arrange everything, but a funeral is arranged from the municipality. For them I make a poem because they too have the right to a dignified farewell. I search for clues and find words for a final greeting.
Sharing stories before you pass
Sometimes someone knows he or she is going to pass away. And there are questions or stories that may and want to be shared before someone goes. Things that may have long been hidden from shame, guilt or discomfort. Then a conversation with someone like me can be enlightening and soothing. Sharing something with someone you don’t know is sometimes many times easier than telling people you know. Because again, sometimes an outsider needs to ask that specific question to unfold the whole story, give it air, bring it to the surface. The story that brings peace to the family system, so that perhaps long unresolved issues, or secrets, or shame can finally be released. Because one thing I know for sure, and I can also say from my own experience, when you share what is on your heart it gives peace. Then the other person can see you in who you are (more or also) and a connection can possibly be restored. I am happy to help you with that. Listening is important. I mean listening with all my senses and being there unbiased.
Call me if you want me to give words to the farewell. And if you write the lyrics and want me to think and write with you, that’s possible too.
Ik wist niet
dat stilte zo zou klinken
ik wist niet dat de hele wereld
doordraait, behalve wij
ik wist niet
dat zon zo warm kon schijnen
en bloemen zonder water
zo sterk en stoer overeind blijven
Ik wist niet
dat stapvoets rijden
zo langzaam gaat
en dat linten aan een spiegel
onze verbintenis zouden zijn
naar de overkant
Even houden we onze adem in
herinneren, herdenken we jou
een blauwe ballon vliegt de lucht in
de letters op het spandoek wuiven je gedag
met zijn allen klappen we voor jou
voor de jouwen, de wereld
en voor ons
Ik wist niet
dat zo samen zijn
kon voelen als echt verbonden