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On May 12 2010 the parents of Marieke Poelmann (writer and freelance journalist, 1988) died in the Tripoli airplane crash. They were on their way home from a vacation in South Africa.

 

By: JANNEKE SIEBELINK

On May 12th both of Marieke Poelmann’s parents are killed in the airplane crash near Tripoli. They were on their way home after a vacation in South Africa. Marieke is 22 at the time. She recently started a career in journalism and suddenly finds herself on the wrong side of the news. What happens next is overwhelming: family detectives, victim assistance, banks and insurance companies all line up at her parents’ doorstep. Suddenly, she also shares the responsibility with her older brother Boris for their handicapped brother Sandor, who had a brain tumor when he was 11 years old. Not to mention the immense loss and grief that presents itself, which Poelmann describes incisively in her book Alles om jullie heen is er nog.

“Because of the accident, I lost my faith in life. That is slowly coming back to me, yes. Around the time I turned 25 I noticed that I started feeling stronger again, I made my own choices and stopped seeing life as a burden. Now, I try to focus on what I want from life. My boyfriend helped me a lot changing my perspective. He encouraged me to stop only looking back, but to look ahead as well. He taught me to live in the now, and how to make myself comfortable right where I am.

‘In the months after July 17th 2014, I discovered that being a victim of a national disaster is something that stays with you forever. Maybe it’s like a covenant you sign involuntarily, without the possibility to withdraw or resign. People who say that life goes on mean it well, but with a loss of this magnitude, parts of your life actually stop. They are never coming back. That does not get better. It will never be over and it will never be alright. The only thing that happens, is that it it becomes bearable. Time has its way with it, whether you want it to or not. For years I refused to accept that. I resisted, the grief wasn’t supposed to get better. My fathers hands around my cold feet, my mothers voice at my bedside. If the grief would wear off, I would lose them again. It took me quite some time to realize it doesn’t work that way. I discovered that there is one part of them I could never lose; the part that is in me.’ 

Read full text (in Dutch) here