Articles News interview series – III Katja

How do I put this on Facebook?

Short interview series about how young people deal with loss and grief. Today: Katja Renkers. She lost her parents and her brother, less than a year ago in the MH17 disaster. She talks about how personal loss becomes public through media and social media.


Katja Renkers (20) was 19 when her parents and brother Tim died in the MH17 crash. She was still living at home. Surrounded by photos of her father, mother and brother, Katja talks about her loss.

Have fun and I love you. Those are the last things we said to each other in our family WhatsApp group. Ten minutes before take-off. I only opened it twice after July 17th. A week after the crash everything was still in there. A couple of months later I got a notification that my mother had been removed from the group and my brother had left the group. I was shocked. I still don’t get it. That must mean that someone else is using their phone or their phone number, but why would anyone do something like that?

I cried when I dropped them off at the airport. I felt so stupid about that, I was going to see them again in just four weeks. I had already booked my own vacation with my friends, if I hadn’t I would’ve come with them. As I drove off, I looked at them one last time through my rear view mirror. I almost hit another car. Luckily my dad didn’t see it, I was driving his lease car. They were worried about me returning home safely from Schiphol airport in that car. If only I had been more worried about them.”

Read full text (in Dutch) here