Monday marks the anniversary of Titien’s death. August 23, 2020 was a Sunday. She died in my arms in the morning. Writing that brings tears to my eyes and this week – her final week – is a special emotional challenge. I am on vacation now, just like last year.
Here are a few thoughts about grief and the past year, loosely put together:
Grief has an acute phase and a latent phase. The acute phase lasted a few months for me. The latent phase is ongoing, maybe for the rest of my life. To be honest, that’s what I wish for. I am not uncomfortable with grief.
The strength and duration of grief is far more dependent on the depth of the relationship than on the length of time since death. Grief comes and goes in waves. The intensity does not change, but the frequency does. The episodes of mourning do not become less and less rare over time, they simply come irregularly. At the moment they come often.
There are several places where I’m close to Titien. The tree that she and my parents are buried under is one of them. I go there every two weeks. The photos for the collage here in the image on top of the article were taken up there over the past year.
I first go for a long walk there, I remember, and then call Titien’s brother. We go together from the place where the photos were taken to the tree and spend time at the grave.
Two other situations in which I feel close to her: When driving alone, I imagine that she is sitting in the passenger seat next to me. We then talk sometimes.
My iPhone shows me different, randomly selected photos every day in the form of a widget on the home screen. Many of them are with Titien.
My favorite hobby at the moment is road cycling. I go on long tours regularly. The furthest was 200 km from home to the tree under which Titien is buried and back again. When I ride slowly, I have time to think. If I ride faster, I can switch off. I’ve never had more muscular thighs than now.
A note to our friends: It’s nice when you think of her and me these days. Please don’t call. If I feel like talking, I will contact you. As always, I am happy to receive comments here.