Willem lost his daughter Merel in 2012, who died because of a self-chosen death. He shares his experience as a survivor. “At the age of 52 I’ve lost my only child. It feels like walking on the ruins of your own existence.” Dealing with the loss is greater than his own life.
Willem gives a number of tips in this conversation. His faith is very helpful to him (he tells more about this in another conversation), but there are also very concrete things that you can do.
- Move: This is primarily about literally and physically moving. So get off the couch. The movement helps you to come out of a negative spiral of worrying. Exercise is also about moving along with the suffering that you go through. This also means that you do not have to flee from the pain that you experience, but rather dare to look it into the eyes.
- Tell: You have to tell your story to others (you can always talk to us). Even if it is not a new story and you will tell your story again and again. It is important in the process you go through.
- Create: By making something in which you can give meaning to the loss and give it an act. This will be different for everyone. One writes a song, poem or story, the other makes a photobook or memorial book, plants a vegetable garden or starts painting. These are all ways that help you give meaning to the loss that you have to go through.