Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Starting the New Year, Strong & Smiling

The end of 2012 has been quiet eventful for our family.  

I write this blog in the spirit of "life goes on".  Trying to make sense of a tragic incident, and in the same breath focusing on the positive side of an otherwise sad experience.

In the wee hours of the morning of New Year's Eve, the neighbor living above our flat ran amok, fired three gunshots, before setting his own home on fire, and jumping from the balcony of our two story building. 

Photo courtesy of R-TV Nord-Holland / edited in 16.01.13

The police was present, and was able to secure the perpetrator right away after he begun the crime. 

We were told via megaphone to evacuate the building, which we did calmly.  

With our youngest daughter (sleeping and unaware of what was happening) wrapped in blanket, P and I went outside and saw our neighbor lying face down in the middle of the streets. 

The police guided us through the home of another neighbor together with the other residents of the apartment complex. We gathered there to make sure everyone in the building is accounted for. Later, after the protocol was done, we were offered shelter by another helpful neighbor, away from the gathering, lights and noise of fire trucks and police vehicles.

I cannot at this point write more than the information, that has already been published in different news sources here in the Netherlands, of what has happened because I am not familiar with the legal boundaries of this situation.  

We are experiencing a delayed shock to what has happened.  Like any victim of violence we are going through different stages of post-traumatic stress

I am trying to cope the only way I know how; deal with difficult situations offensively.  Something I taught myself to learn through the years: writing, sharing my feelings and thoughts & impressions of what what was experienced.  In this way, I am regaining control and strength, which I need in order to be there for my family. 

Below is a message I wrote for family and friends.  This is how I would like to remember the 1st of January, 2013. We begin the new day of the new year, with gratefulness in our hearts, and smile on our faces, even though there are many reasons not to do so.  

Happy New Year, dear family & friends.

Thank you very much for all the warm words of concern and support. 

You all have carried us upright in the past couple of days. We appreciate it very much, more than words can express.

Life goes on. We have to go on with life -  deal with all the essentials and practicalities. Even though there is a strong wish for a pause button to stop the world from turning.

Rest well, and work out in peace what has happened to us without attending and worrying about life's necessities would be ideal.

The reality does not work that way, though. Life goes on.

Luckily, we are not alone. We do not feel alone. For that we thank you.

Smile though your heart is aching, as the song goes. Thank you for giving us the strength to do so.

How I would like to remember 1st of January: side by side with my beloved P. Safe,  and sheltered at Oma B's (P's mom)


  1. Thank goodness you guys are alright. Happy New Year!

    1. Thank you, Seny.

      Wishing you a Happy New Year, too!

  2. My gosh, how traumatic! I hope the rest of your year is happy, healthy, and peaceful.