Today I am going to Belgium, to visit the family but also because we are launching a book for my granddad.
For those who read the blog you’ll know that my granddad passed away earlier this year. As the wise soul he was he didn’t appreciate mourning and sadness, he liked to celebrate life more than death. Therefore he had a special request for his funeral: he didn’t want anyone else there other than the absolutely necessary ones, meaning really (really) close family and friends. Only after some time had passed did he want us to tell the people and get together with everyone who wished to remember him. Only if it wasn’t to dwell in the sadness of losing him, but to celebrate who he was and to ‘pick up on the conversations left unfinished’.
Wow, it still blows my mind how an incredible human being he was, and how much I admired him and still do.
We respected his wishes. There were only a few of us for the funeral, my Nan, my aunt and her partner, my parents, my cousins, my sister and I, my great-aunt and her son, my Nan’s nephews and my granddad’s nephews, plus one of his best friends and his daughter. There was about 20 of us. That was it. We listened to some of his favourite songs playing and thought of him. We had an afternoon tea and shared memories and stories, and in the end we were just enjoying each other’s company. I think he would have like that.
Now that a few months have passed, although the loss and sadness can’t really ever go away, we are ready to remember him as he wished. My grandmother, my dad and my aunt have gathered around texts and poems that he wrote, letters, texts and poems that people wrote about him, and have put together a book called ‘Zin in een babble?’ (Fancy a chat?). I wish it was translated in English, as I am sure it will be absolutely marvellous. The book launch/gathering for Bob, is scheduled for next Sunday. Hence why I am now taking the train, to meet my sister and dad in Brussels and then off to West Flanders to once again remember our sweet Opa.
I am not sure what to expect, but taking into account the amount of cards and letters my family received, saying how much they loved him, I think it will be quite a surprising turn out. Mostly I am eager to meet the people who met him in different circumstances and hear what they have to share about my Opa.
Wow, what an emotional train ride this turned out to be. Have to go now, almost in Brussels.
“What I would like is that people come together and for the discussions to be resumed or initiated” – Bob Paulus