In Memoriam

Jan de Koning *2-12-1925 ~ +17-4-2011
Jannigje de Koning - de Jong *14-8-1927 ~ +27-4-2011

Photo taken on their 56th wedding anniversary 11-5-2006.
They would have been married 61 years this May.



When I visited my grandmother in hospital on Tuesday evening, she seemed to be feeling a lot better: her bloodsugar had stabilized, she was cheerful and the colour had returned to her cheeks.

However, things took a turn for the worst yesterday when she suffered from one major and a few minor heart attacks. The medical staff did everything they could, but she slipped into a coma around 3 p.m. and died at 5 p.m.

To say our family is devastated would be an understatement. Within 10 days, my mom and her siblings lost both their parents.


Hard times

This past week and a half have been really tough.

Last week, my granddad decided he had had enough. The previous couple of nights had been very rough on him, and he felt he could not take another night like that.
His lungs had gotten really bad lately and he was experiencing more and more difficulty breathing with all the fluid in them.
On Saturday morning I got a phone call from my mom to come to the hospice where he and my grandmom had been residing for the past couple of weeks. After discussing the situation with his doctor, granddad agreed to being administered a sedative. Due to the lack of medication and nourishment, his body would then give up, but with him being asleep, he wouldn't be uncomfortable when his body would finally shut down.

On Saturday afternoon we all said our goodbyes. Sunday morning he was gone.
It can take up to 5 days for a person's body to give up, but thankfully my grandmother did not have to witness such a drawn-out process.

My mom called me Sunday morning around 9.45 to let me know he had passed away. My first question was: what time did it happen? Bizarrely, I had woken up during the night at 3.42 a.m. (I know the exact time because I remember checking my alarm clock) and in my state of semi-conciousness I heard what sounded like a person moaning. My mom informed me granddad had died around 9.30 a.m., but when I got to the hospice some time later, I heard that he had inadvertently woken up during the night around that time! My cousin told me he had also woken up around that same time... My aunt, who spent the night at the hospice to support my grandmother, managed to get him back to sleep.

I consider myself a fairly down-to-earth person, but I do believe there is more between heaven and earth than we aware of...

The funeral was scheduled for Thursday, which obviously was a very emotional day. Although I am at peace with my granddad's death, it's very hard to see my grandmother grieving. My grandparents were together for over 65 years, nearly 61 of them as a married couple (their 61st anniversary would have been next month). I cannot imagine having to miss your spouse after so many years!

On the day before the funeral, we got a scare when my mom was involved in an accident. She was on her bicycle near their house when a dog suddenly ran across the bicycle lane and she was unable to avoid it.
She fell on her face, very hard, and had to be taken to hospital.
Fortunately it was mostly scrapes and bruises, and some suitures in her nose. For a little while, we were afraid she may have broken something or suffered a concussion and would be unable to attend the funeral. Luckily that wasn't the case.

On Friday (the day after the funeral), my aunt took my grandma to the hospital because she was in a lot of pain from a severe attack of gout. The pain medication made her feel very woozy and nauseous, and she spent the better part of 2 days vomiting...
When my parents and I were there on Easter Monday, she scared us terribly by showcasing all the symptoms of an intracranial hemorrhage. She suffered from a hemorrhage a few years ago, so we immediately called an ambulance. They performed a few tests and concluded that she was experiencing hypoglycemia instead (the symptoms are apparently very similar). My grandmom has diabetes and because of the nausea had not been eating much, which caused her blood sugar to drop dangerously low. She was taken to the hospital to be monitored, and we were informed today that she has to stay there for a few more days.

I was telling a friend of mine about these last couple of days and she reminded me that things always seem to happen in threes...
Let's hope these were our 'threes' and things will quiet down form now on, because I don't know how much more stress I can take at this point...



Just got back today from a 4-day trip to Istanbul with my mom. She turned 60 earlier this month and this was my birthday present to her. She knew we would be going away for a few days but she didn't know where we would be going up until we arrived at the airport on Monday morning :)

I really enjoyed our trip. We stayed at a small hotel near the Topkapi Palace. It was simple, but ideally located in a quaint neighbourhood near all the major sights.

We had a busy couple of days but managed to do most of the things on our wish list. Amongst other things, we visited the Aya Sofia, Blue Mosque, Spice Bazar, Grand Bazar, Topkapi Palace and Basilica Cistern, and took the ferry across the Bosporus to Asia enjoying nice views of the city's skyline. We were also extremely lucky with the weather: despite predictions of rain, it was mostly sunny during our entire stay.

My goal this year is to take a trip every quarter. It can be long, it can be short; it can be far away, it can be close by: as long as I get to go away for a while. And even though it's still March,  I've decided this qualifies as the 2nd-quarter-trip after my vacation to Egypt in January :)
Two down, two more to go!

Some of my favorite pics:

Our destination finally revealed at Schiphol Airport :-)

Mystical atmosphere underground at the Basilica Cistern.

Foggy silhouette of the Blue Mosque and Aya Sofia from the ferry.

At the Turkish restaurant (2nd night)

Blue Mosque (a.k.a. Sultan Ahmet Mosque)

Interior of the Aya Sofia.

Aya Sofia by night.

Spice Bazar

Stray cat testing wares at the Grand Bazar...

Interior at the Topkapi Palace.