What health means (to me).

Peace, war, sickness and health, it’s all happening. More than 2000 km away there is ravage and death. Lost humans and homeless animals in stifling fear. It’s surreal to realise that battle field isn’t extremely far from our safe houses. In the meantime I have been to my motherland to be there for — and with — my family. My sister has been diagnosed with breast-cancer on valentine’s day. Her tumors were removed and she will get treatment soon. The hospitals still have lots to catch up due to covid-19, so my sister is waiting for her first treatment to begin. Let’s hope she can start soon. 

Another confrontation that life can change all of a sudden. A severe attack of the human body is not that different from an invasion of a country. You trusted it to be safe, but under the skin there was tension, sickness, an underground battle fought between parties. Worlds are turned upside down. The major challenge will be to regain faith in your body, to shake off the fear in fighting your enemies. Those in war are bearing arms, and eliminating “the other”, the sick are using mental bullets as their weapons. And the heaviest bullet will be trust. Trust in the body and mind that is capable of healing, in its incredible strength and flexibility. Despair bends into courage, pain into hope. Remember that rebounds are just temporary. 

But you will only know this when you are the one who must get through this. As everything in life, you first need to experience all of it yourself. Only then you will fully understand what it means to live in a sick body or having a sick country as your home. 

What do we know about war? Only our parents know what war is when they are old enough. But we, the spoiled generation, we don’t know a damn thing. What does it mean to flee our home and country? To be a refugee? We are not able to even grasp a thing of it. Maybe we will know when sea levels rise, fertile lands turn into deserts, biodiversity is gone and our soils are completely depleted. Maybe one day we will understand as we knock on other gates.

We live in a sick world in sick bodies. More than ever we need health in our lives; for both our bodies and minds. Health means to be a guardian of nature. It means respect, acceptance, knowledge, compassion, trust, love and friendship – with yourself and those around you. But also art, craftmanship, music and dance. It’s all that nourishes life.

Con Amor,

Eva  

It’s So Unfair.

Why is it that some of us have so much on their plates? Not in the sense of work or activities. No, I mean too much as in loss, pain and grief.

fairness doesn’t seem to belong here
a heart doesn’t beat unchanged
lungs don’t breathe air parallelly
a body doesn’t survive equally
body cells don’t divide unvaryingly
a baby crib’s country doesn’t count evenly
no, fairness doesn’t seem to belong here
sometimes the spirits have other plans
and care for us differently in ways
we cannot comprehend.

Too much

Why is it that some of us have so much on their plates? Not in the sense of work or activities. No, I mean too much as in loss, pain and grief.

Every now and then this question grabs me and words as “it’s so unfair” always end up rolling off my tongue. Last Thursday morning I said these words again. I opened my mailbox and I scrolled down the bullshit information (most of it). Since three months or so I receive a daily newsletter of a Dutch newspaper which is kind of strange as I’ve never subscribed to it. Anyway, I don’t always take a further look, but that morning I did. My eyes stopped when I read the headline and I decided to open the article. I was able to read it as it wasn’t hidden behind a paid wall. Yes, it was about her. His sister he was so proud and fond of.

Paulien

I read that she died at the age of 37, Paulien van Deutekom, the former Dutch world champion all round speed skating. She left behind a 1-year-old little daughter and husband, her family and friends after she suffered from cancer.

For quite some years I lived together with her brother in a student home in Rotterdam. I remember he said how disciplined she was, always moving, training, cycling. Living a healthy life. Working hard. On top of that she had such a sweet heart. I met her a couple of times in our student home years ago. Her brother was so proud of her. Unfortunately over the years I lost contact with him, but I was able to send him a message which he replied the other day. What can you say to someone who experiences such a painful loss? I mentioned it’s so unfair to lose her at such a young age, just like I felt it. This unfairness lingers in my head.

We woke up

I talked with my partner about it and he always seems to look at death differently than I do. More from a distance. I’m sucked into it and almost can feel the pain of those who experience a heavy loss. I feel sadness when I hear news like that. I imagine the broken hearts. But I also feel it hits me like somebody pinches me and I tell myself “thank God I’m alive”. Dorus and I, we woke up this morning. My mother woke up this morning. My sister. My brother. Dorus’s dad in New Zealand. His brothers and sisters. Their partners woke up. Our friends. We all woke up this morning. Nobody is ill.

Intense life

People like Paulien, they lived their life as all which they experienced had to be squeezed in a short time. Therefore it was an intense life. Maybe to another person it would held a complete lifetime. They truly lived. In their short, but lives well lived my partner sees a certain consolation. Yes, it’s a beautiful thought, yet for a parent or brother we can’t imagine how it must be to live with this cruel reality.

50th birthday

My sister turned 50 last Friday. I wasn’t there, but in thought I was and automatically I went back to March 2015 when a doctor said she possibly had metastatic cancer. I took the first plane to be with her and my family. In that time we were torn between hope and fear. I will never forget how thankful I was my sister wasn’t severely ill, but would be able to become healthy again. In the end she recovered from her illness. My old roommate’s sister didn’t.

Cherish what you have

It’s a fact, we can’t control everything in life. However, as the words which a friend wrote to me say: what we do control is how we cherish what we have and to make the right decisions for ourselves, with love and without regrets. It’s true. It’s powerful.

Con Amor,

Eva

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