Without you. Sanneke’s mother was missing and turned out to be murdered by her father: ‘I could never have imagined that he was the perpetrator’

To grieve

“I was not only grieving for my mother, but actually also for my father. In fact he was still there, but no longer as a father figure in my life. Suddenly you are on your own as children, without your parents. I entered a rule mode. That kind of distracted my mind somehow. I tried therapy, but it didn’t work for me. Then I said out loud to myself: “Sanneke, you have two options. Either you see yourself as a victim, or you take your mother’s positivity and go for it.” I really got my teeth into my studies and work, that was something to hold on to. Music was an outlet for me, I listened to a lot of music and also sang. I also wrote down my emotions in the form of poems, some were light and others very dark. My girlfriends were a huge support, I could always talk to them.

When my father was in prison, I kept in touch with him. I visited him a few times, but I found that too intense. After that, contact was via letters or telephone. That way I could still share important things in my life with him, I missed that. My father tried to explain his side of the story even further, but I refused. I didn’t believe his version and wanted to keep looking forward and not to the past. I was angry with him, but I quickly let that go. It simply didn’t help and cost a lot of energy. Somehow I also feel sorry that he created the situation for himself. For my father, my mother and the family were everything. When she wanted a divorce and that fell through, his light went out. He did not find happiness in himself and that is a great pity. He died of cardiac arrest in 2015.

I think about my parents every day, but it doesn’t dominate my life. I recognize things of myself in both. My mother also wrote poems and they both had a love for music. I’m still very much into confrontation and allowing my emotions. Sometimes I need to cry, so I do. I know exactly what music I need for that.’

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