Inspiration from death

I am a bit in a mixed mood today as it is the day one of my sisters is being buried and I decided I cannot attend. Main reason is budget, but somehow I also don’t want to attend as I don’t really see the reason to take on a 24 hour journey to attend a half day ceremony or so. And I guess I would have made an exception if my mam had asked me to come, but she didn’t. Ah, and also being fifty one years old life and death, especially death, is not that a big issue anymore, as people just die and I even almost died myself around five years ago. And most people who died were relatively old, like my grandparents and my dad, the people closest to me who died. And my sister was a special child with also body problems, so somehow it was already a miracle that she lived for almost fifty years.

The death of my sister made me thing yesterday though, as it brought me back to my youth, my very young years, about which my parents said I was very close with Janneke, my sister. So I was looking for a photo I remember of her and me, but I couldn’t find it. But I kept thinking about ‘life’, how we as people, as human beings are being born, live, and then die. So I thought about my sister, about what she had given to the world, as somehow people with disabilities appear so, well useless, not contributing. On the contrary, they take a lot of care, like my sister was in an institution for mentally handicapped people, so there are a lot of people needed an available to care for her. And yes, they need to be paid. And in The Netherlands that is all arranged by the government, and my sister even got an allowance from the social security department in The Netherlands. And then today I got an e-mail with the content, the preparation for the church and funeral ceremonies. And the staff who had taken care of Janneke all had made some kind of poem. And then I remembered the below photo they had sent me earlier, from the internal memo about Janneke’s death. And especially that photo reminded me of how she was, with such an enormous, I don’t know how to say in English properly, happiness. Like how she could shine, as you may see in below photo.


And then I read the poems that the staff had made. And they all mentioned how much Janneke had given, and not, as one would expect, how much she had ‘taken’, consumed, used. And no, I am not really the type of person who thinks like that. I am more the material and career guy, even though I have big dreams and talk and write (and do) about valuing humans more, valuing humans above organizations and material things.

So yes, when thinking about those things, reading the poems, seeing the joy in the photo and remembering how Janneke was, I just know that a human is just very special, even if he or she is born without the ability to contribute to the material and such.

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