My first book is published. When I received my own copies, my Love filmed how I opened the package. What a special feeling to have your own book in your hands: tangible result of many days studying, describing and interpreting. I was so proud and enthusiastic that I not only shared the video via WhatsApp, but also via Facebook and LinkedIn. It was viewed over two and a half thousand times.
I didn’t see that coming.
When I shared my embarrassment about this with someone, she laughingly pointed to the cover of my booklet where it says: ‘While writing, the author prayed that this book will help you spend time with God and with the Bible. That you grow in faith, in prayer and in the courage to take your place in this world. Visible and fair. With complete certainty that you are never alone.’ She said: ‘Visible and honest, Ineke. Yeah, well, you are now!’ She’s right. I better get used to it.
My first book has nothing to do with Amanda. It is not about mourning, but about a Bible book: Daniel. But for me, it has everything to do with Amanda, because if it hadn’t been for her, I probably would not have written this book.
When we found out that our daughter had passed away, I was overwhelmed with feelings and thoughts I didn’t have before. Suddenly I realized that people who had experienced this before me were right: if you haven’t experienced it yourself, you can’t understand it. I always found it very difficult when someone said that. I really want to understand people and find it hard when someone brushes me off. I thought: ‘Please, tell me then! Help me understand you!’
So when Amanda had died, I made a choice. If a friend of me had to go through this, I would appreciate her telling me what is happening, what she feels, what she needs. So, I thought, if I want others to understand me, I have to tell them precisely what is happening, and what I think and feel.
So that is what I did. At first in a WhatsApp group, a little later on Facebook and then in my own blog, because I heard it also gave words to others or understanding for grief. Writing helped me to unravel and articulate more precisely what I thought and felt. As Jonathan Franzen states it: ‘Writing is organizing your thoughts. As you write, you discover what you previously only suspected.’ (I translated this quote our of Dutch). That’s it! By writing I discover what I really think and feel and giving words to that, helps me to cry about it.
After a while I was asked to write blogposts for another website. There I write (mostly) about subjects other than mourning. That was good for me. In the meantime, more and more people found my own website and I received great response. I decided I wanted to write a book about what it is like to mourn as a believer. While emailing about this with a publisher I trusted, I received a call from someone else: ‘Hi Ineke, have you ever thought of writing a book?’ I was surprised and told I would love to do that. We shared our ideas and a few weeks later, I started a process that was completely new to me: I wrote a Bible study book.
My first book is not about Amanda and has nothing to do with my grief journey. But I probably would not have become a writer if I hadn’t lost her. I was very aware of that when I wrote the book. For me, this book has everything to do with my daughter and it took quite a while before I could accept that. Now that struggle is over and I am really happy that this book is out there. I started writing the book that I initially wanted to write. And continue trying to remain honest and visible.
I gave an interview about becoming an author. It is in English and you can find it here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=3824208410984062
First published in Dutch on September 4, 2019