Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pappa chapter 1

I (Iris) feel that 2010 has been one of the best years of my life so far, considering the amount of fantastic things that happened. It has been like a dream, doing my thesis and it became the best year of my study, while I thought it was going to be the worst. I got two new wonderful friends and we did a really good research together, I even started to like to do research, which was the last thing I had thought I would. I got my degree, which I am very proud of and it didn’t stop there... We were nominated to get a price from school for best research/thesis, and we won the price! And as if it was not enough we won another price, we gat money and a lot of attention, for us three it was like a dream and we were just living in it and pinching each others arms. After all this I went to Norway for 6 weeks and experienced hard but learnfull and good weeks in homecare practising as a nurse for the first time. As you all know after this Rino and I said goodbye to our friends and our life in Groningen and went to our exciting year of traveling and living on Bali.

I am more than aware of my fantastic position and opportunity here, being able to do exactly what I want for almost 1 year, no pressure and just living life in a warm climate and in a beautiful culture and country. Friends are jealous just as I would be it in their situation. It feels like 2011 also is going to be a wonderful year with more Bali and traveling and then moving and settling down in Norway together, what also is very exiting for me and for Rino.

I am a lucky and happy girl, still, in spite of being at your most happy a person can also have concerns and grief going along with it. Most people who read this, but probably not all of you, know that pappa is sick with alzheimer. Has been for some years now and since a couple of years he is in a nursing home. It was hard for me to leave for NL in 2006 because of him, knowing that I could not see him more often than maybe 3 times a year and knowing that I always was going to have the fear of maybe next time he will not recognise me anymore. In the fall of 2008 he moved to a nursing home. Luckily for Sofie, mamma and me he has recognised us all the way till around this summer (2010). Forgot everybody and everything else but us, in all the misery of this sickness this has been a real positive thing for me and for us. It was a good feeling for me when I came home and also for Sofie, and for mamma it always was a good thing when she visited him that he clearly appreciated her being there and they both could enjoy the visit. This last summer I was home for many weeks and I visited him everyday, I hated the thought that I was going away for a year...and knowing in my heart that this would really be the last time he recognised me the way he has done until now. Not with so many words anymore or my name...but just by other signs and body language, which I learned this summer to treasure and appreciate. We had a good summer because I learned to let go of much of the grief and anxiety for time being and just enjoy tiny moments and loving him just as he is now. But still the moment came closer that I was going far far away.

I had made the decision to go for sure during last year, after talking with Rino and others and to myself about it. And off course I had to go, I would have recommended the same to everybody else in the same situation, there is nothing more you can do if you had moved to Norway or stayed in NL than in Bali 1 year.... I still think so with my common sense, but I must say I doubt it with my heart sometimes. Because my misery and anxiety is so much stronger here when I feel it, the distance is so far and I cannot take a flight back just for a long weekend to see him and to bee with Sofie and mamma like I for example did in 2008 when he moved to the nursing home. There has to be more of a crisis or I have to feel a lot worse before I take a flight home from here....
So in the middle of paradise, adventure, good life and the best years of my life there is also grief and the worst feelings in my life. Feelings existing side by side.

“Pappa is going into a new face now” mamma said on the phone a week ago, he’s not recognising her the last visits and is changing in his behaviour. A few days ago he had a kind of seizure where he was unconscious for some minutes. This is making my days very hard at the moment and I am filled with chaos and anxiety which is difficult to give a place inside me and respond to. He is fine again and acting and functioning like he did before, but for me the distance is now like I’m on the moon and cannot reach him at all. I don’t know how to deal with this, I have never known how to deal with it. I was always the one in denial in the first years before he gat a diagnose and I have been dealing with it by myself and seldom talking about it with people.... as the talker I usually am, I found out that I don’t easily talk about difficult feelings. I often feel there is nothing to talk about, that people will not understand and that there is nothing they can tell me anyway. It is a situation with no sunrise, no good end and no hope.... so it feels easier for me to not start talking.

The idea to start to blog about pappa came up some days ago thinking about how to deal with all this for me when I am here and make it liveable for myself. This is, as well as all the other stories, a part of our adventures here. Pappa is a big part of it because of the everyday contrast I live in between happiness and grief. I think because of me never being open about it, people around me tend to forget about pappa and the struggle Sofie, mamma en I have in the daily life that goes on for years. Sometimes I tend to blame people for this and not asking about pappa...but I guess I can’t blame, it is an impossible situation and there is no user guide on how to anticipate. No right or wrong.

So now by writing about pappa here I open up once and for all and let my thoughts out to everybody who reads it. My intent is to write about good things, about memories of pappa, about how proud I am of him and that I actually think I have the best father I could ever have in this world. I hope it will function as a sort of therapy for myself and I want it to be a way to put him out in peoples thoughts and out in the world again as the living person he still is, he may be different, but still it is pappa and I am not hiding him away in my own head anymore!

Van hamar julen 09

Pappa & me Christmas Eve 2009


  1. heel goed en moedig van je Iris ! Het doet goed om het zwart op wit te zien en te lezen.
    En ik hoop dat het jou helpt om je trieste gevoelens te relativeren . Mooie foto trouwens van jou en Paul.
    liefs van mij

  2. Heel mooi geschreven, wat knap dat je dit gaat doen zo, alles opschrijven. Ik hoop echt dat het je helpt!!
    Ik heb gisteren m´n ticket geboekt! Ik kan niet meer terug, 27 april mag je me ophalen van het vliegveld! Kunnen we weer als van ouds praten over alles wat ons bezig houdt, fijne en minder fijne dingen!! Ik zie er naar uit! kus

  3. Lieve Iris,

    Wat goed van je dat je bent gaan schrijven. Ik vind dat je het heel goed verwoord hebt en ben er ook blij mee want het voelde voor mij moeilijk om over je vader te beginnen. Ik vroeg altijd wel aan Julia hoe het met hem gaat of ging maar daarmee kwam ik niet bij jou en ook niet jouw gevoelens. Ik begrijp je dat je in een dubbel gevoel leeft: echt twee uiterste. Oeps nu moet ik stoppen want boven is een kind wakker geworden. Ik schrijf je snel weer!
    Liefs, Els