A Tribute

Door: Jolanda Boekhout | 20 februari 2011 | Nog geen reacties >

This month, on 20th Februay, I am exactly the same age as my mom was when she died in 1980. I can’t remember how I came to this calculation. Maybe because my thoughts went back tot the day Eric & I got a relationship, on 10th August, and my mom died on a 10th day of the month. But also maybe I had to think about the way Eric & I met in 2002. My mom must have a hand in that. There are several reason to think why she would have created the opportunity, but I will leave it to the fact that my mom loved me and animals, cats in particular.

Before I come back on my line of thoughts it maybe to know the story of how Eric & I met eight and a half years ago. Before we actually met and started talking I had an encounter with Eric’s cats. At that moment I lived with my three cats in the centre of Rotterdam, in a nice house on the ground floor, with a beautiful green garden.

The first encounter with Eric was on a Mondaymorning in July 2002. I had spent the Sunday before in the garden. It was a hot summer day and after dark a thunderstorm had come up. To cool my bedroom, and me, I had left the doors to the garden open and sat back on the couch. Before I got into bed I noticed that Jesse was mesmerized by some stuff in the cupboard next to the bed. After a closer look I found a strange and scared cat hiding at the back of the cupboard.

I had lived in that house for nine years and hadn’t seen the cat before. The bad weather must have scared her and had her escape from somewhere. I didn’t know what to do at that moment. Couldn’t keep her in the house because of my cats, but I couldn’t throw her out, because it was still raining heavily outside. After a phonecall with the animal ambulance I got the advice to put the cat outside. Because the place I lived had a closed gardencompound the cat would be safe. So with pain in my heart I sent her out again.

First thing on Monday morning was to have a chat with the upstairs neighbors and I found out that a neighbour who lived a porch next door had some cats. The second thing I did that day was ringing his doorbell. A man who looked very handsome and relaxed opened the door. And yes, he missed two of his three cats. He told me he had left the balconydoors open when he went to the movies the day before. He missed Puk and Kees when he came back. They were probably scared by the weather and had fallen down. I told him I met Puk the night before and that she was roaming the gardens.

“I know that on my mom’s birthday I would be the same age she was when she died”

I went to work. Couldn’t let go of the event and came home early to search for Puk. Eric also had come home early. Fortunately I discovered Puk still sitting in a corner in the garden and very quick I could catch her. Eric found Kees in the garden next door. They both were unharmed.

A week later I had the yearly BBQ in the garden with my upstairs neighbours. It was well known that I was a cat lover so when the doorbell rang and another neighbour asked if I missed a cat that question didn’t came as a surprise. I didn’t miss anyone, but was very curious about who he had found.

In the porch where Eric lived I found a scared cat with some small injuries on his chin. The cat must have fallen down somewhere. That was the day I first met Tom, Eric’s third cat. After bringing Tom home my guests and I tried to find out where Tom lived. Eric didn’t miss a cat at that moment, he thought, but after a few moments he came running after us calling that he did miss a cat. It happened that he had unnoticed left Tom outside on his streetside balcony. Tom happens to be a very adventurous cat and with finding a way inside he probably fell down by accident. Fortunately his injuries were minor.

That was the second time I met Eric. I made the joke that next time we saw each other we must have a drink.

After the BBQ I noticed the lights in Eric’s house were still on. And after a very cosy evening with wine and food I had the courage to pick up the phone and invited Eric over for a drink. Eric was very surpised with the invitation but he didn’t say no.

That night we talked for hours. We decided to go to the DanceParade together next weekend. That day was Saturday 10th August. And it happened to be the first day we kissed. This year we will be together for nine years.

Thinking back about 10, the cats, the signs from my mother (the way Eric and I have met must have something to do with her) I started thinking that this year is the year that I will be older than my mom. This knowledge makes someone think. Because of her illness you start thinking about if you will ever reach an older age than she did. And that I am crossing a line after 46, travelling further down the path she ever could.

I also started counting what age my mom was, in years, months, days, when she died. And what age I would be on her birthday. Without carefully counting the figures I know that on my mom’s birthday I would be the same age she was when she died. How can a person know you probably think? I can’t answer that. I just knew. We both would be 46 years, 3 months and 20 days. After having mentioned it to Eric, he did calculate carefully and found out that my counting had been correct.

What would this mean I thought? What is the message and is there a message? Up till now I don’t know the answer. Finding out needs some careful thinking, feeling and courage. I know it must be a special sign. Maybe it is the ending of a period in my life, a long period of fighting with myself, struggling with who I am in life and not seeing the true me. Finding out my passion and taking the step to chose for me, trusting me and the things that happen around me. And, very important, bringing the last two years of belated mourning to a close.

It is a strange perception and something to give a moment thought. After 20 February I will live a life my mom never lived. I will have experiences she never had. Every wrinkle I will get she never got. I will be older than she ever was. I can’t make comparison to her life anymore, simply because she never got this far. I used to ask myself how she would have done things on my age. That won’t be possible anymore. It creates the feeling that I will live life for her too after 20 February. Visit stations she never went. It feels like there is a white sheet rolled out for me, as if I am travelling a road for the both of us, to experience new adventures for both of us. It feels powerful to experience this for the both of us and also as a great responsibility to live our, and my, life like it is meant to be.

With love.