Articles News interview series – V Jojanneke

You can never be unreasonable again

Final episode of the short interview series about how young people deal with loss and grief. Today: Jojanneke van den Bosch. She lost both of her parents. „The people surrounding someone who lost his or her parents can take over a small part of the parents’ role. Doing nothing is always a bad idea.”


What is it like to lose your parents at a young age and what’s the best way to deal with that by the people surrounding an orphan? Communications expert Jojanneke van den Bosch (39) answers questions like these. Questions that people are afraid to ask, because death is still taboo. With her website and her book So, You’re An Orphan Now Van den Bosch wants to use her own experiences about becoming an orphan to help others. She lost her father and her mother, five months apart. She and her sister were left behind, all on their own when she was just 14 years old.

„Orphans don’t really stand out in our society because we have a very mediatised and conditioned image of an orphan. People think about Oliver Twist, Annie, or Harry Potter. Somebody who is really sad or really tough. Apart from that, it’s still a taboo. Not because these children are a taboo themselves, but because mortality is. If your child tells you a classmate’s mother died, you think: damn it, that could have been me.

I want people to know how many children lose their parents in The Netherlands. I calculated those numbers myself, the Central Bureau of Statistics never investigated it. Later on they finally did, in 2013 the Central Bureau of Statistics published a report stating that there are 34.000 orphans and half-orphans under 18 in The Netherlands. According to the CBS, that number is raised every year by 6.000 new (half)orphans. But when you’re 20 years old, in a way you’re also still a child. So if you add young people up to 23 years old, that adds another 25 percent.”

Read full text (in Dutch) here

Articles News interview series – IV Linda

I’m a fighter, just like my mom

Short interview series about how young people deal with loss and grief. Today: Linda de Best. She lost her father when she was still a toddler and her mother a year ago. „Focus on what you have, not on what you’ve lost.”


Linda de Best (25) was only four years old when her father ended his life by jumping in front of a train. Linda herself was suffering from leukemia at the time. She was left behind, together with her mother, and was cured. She grew up as a happy child and was very close to her mother. Until her mother got hit by a car last year. She ended up in a coma and died. Linda talks about how the loss of her parents dictates her life, then and now.

„In kindergarten I raised my finger and said: ‘my father is dead’. I got kicked out of class, the other children weren’t supposed to hear it.  I found out about this in my mom’s old notes, I can’t remember it myself. I never knew my mother kept a diary at the time, I found the notebooks after she died. I could read that she was desperate at times, I never knew about that either. I wish I could talk to her about it.”

Read full text (in Dutch) here