Here we are, only a month and a half in the new year. It’s been a while since I posted anything at all. First, I hardly posted anything because of personal reasons, and after that I simply didn’t have the time, because I was busy closing down my collectibles store in Rotterdam, and moving all my stock to our warehouse, because I will continue on online.
It was somewhere in September I think, when I decided it was time for a change. I’ve had my store for nine years, and in all these years my mom was a big part of it. She loved being in the store and helping out. But things started to change in 2012 when we heard she had the big C-word. Cancer…
It still amazes me how such a small word can completely blow you away.
In the first five or six months the doctors had high hopes of my mom getting better. A part of her colon was removed, where they had found the tumor, and she started treatment right after that. We were all relieved, because they were able to remove the tumor, and it didn’t look like it had spread. But then it happened.
When my mom had to go back for tests about half a year after the operation, they found small spots on her lungs and liver. It had spread. Things began to go downhill from there. She would have a treatment, and go forward one step, then the next month she would have two steps backward. She felt sick from the treatments, but always maintained a happy face. I’ve never been more proud of my mom than I have these last two years.
On July 18th 2014 Paul and I got married. I am so grateful that my mother was there celebrating with us. It was such a happy day. But only five weeks later we had to say goodbye to her for the last time. It turned out that she had the rare KRAS gene, which apparently has only been discovered a couple of years ago. Mainly telling us, she was screwed from the start. The only treatments right now are trials, and she was turned down for this treatment because there was one little requirement she did not meet.
After the cremation, we tried to go on as usual. I buried myself in work. But you just can’t keep going on that way, especially in a store where there are so many memories. So at the end of January, I closed my store, and went to my parents’ house in Florida with Paul, my dad and my brother. Here we scattered my moms ashes on a patch of the garden she used to take care of. Afterwards I planted calla lilies, hibiscus and other plants I knew she loved.
It was time to close a chapter, and start a new one. So Paul and I stayed in Florida the next two weeks, in which we took a road trip to New Orleans for Mardi Grass, and started fresh when we got back in the Netherlands.
All these months, I kept going on drawing and painting whenever I could. Seventh Heaven (top of the page) is one of the largest paintings I ever did, and depicts my feelings regarding our getting married and the passing of my mom.
Please don’t go is a illustration I created shortly after my mom died.
I created a mini painting for Halloween, and I painted on wood for the first time while creating our Christmas card called Star Light, Star Bright.
I also did a large painting of which I don’t have pictures yet. And while being in Florida I created four illustrations with pencil on paper.
All of these paintings and drawings can be found in my portfolio. So, although I kept a low profile, I have been busy…
I want to end this post with a positive note. These last two years have been a rollercoaster of emotions, and the last 6 months have plainly been tough. But although I very much miss my mother’s hugs and smiles, I know life does go on. Her last words to me were ‘be happy’. That is a promise I intend to keep.