• Pauline Kok


“Some of us die twice – the first time when earth and life disappears, and the second time when nobody mentions your name any more”. I heard someone say this once and it has stuck with me ever since.

That was a very long time ago and it’s haunted me for many years.

Until I discovered the solution to make sure it never happens with me; and to keep the ones I have loved and lost with me in a very simple way. I collect something very dear, very meaningful, and often very simple from them, and place it where I can see or touch it every day; as if I can see and touch the one I loved.

This didn’t bring much healing at the start of the process – that dark, painful missing. It only brought a lonely yearning and more tears.

But after some time passes it becomes easier and the tears transform into a trembling smile as soon as I touched, or see the memory treasure. This also brings forth feelings of regret and separation. The remains of war; the losses of the ones so dear needed to be mourned, almost forever.

But then I thought about my own words years ago, used in my book ‘The Remains of War’ and realized that long ago I had made peace with sorrow and losing: ‘For all of you we had to leave behind. You fought and lost your lives, but ultimately won over pain and evil. In my memory, I will always touch you.

Everything and everyone in life will pass, but after the rain, there is the sun shining through a rainbow, glowing radiantly with meanings of hope, trust, future and promise.

Many years ago a Dutch author wrote something I will never forget because I learned it to be very true. On the first page of his book, he wrote just a few words: ‘Niets bestaat dat niet iets anders aanraakt.’ ( ‘Bezonken Rood’, by Jeroen Brouwers).

Translated this means: ‘Nothing exist that doesn’t touch something else’.

How very true…



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