Bibian, the loss of a friend

Beginning of November, last year. My friend Bibian just turned 40. She’s very happily married to Klaas, a composer, and has three young, cute children of 6, 10 and 12 years old, called Valentijn, Swip and Lulu. She’s a fun, creative and busy woman: a graphic designer, bass player and lead singer in a band, she owns a record label, loves cooking and crafting… But lately she has been feeling very tired and suffers from a nasty tummy ache that doesn’t stop. When she gets the results back from some hospital tests, her whole life changes in an instant. She has metastatic pancreatic cancer. Incurable. With a frightening short life expectancy.

A shock resonates through her circle of friends. Panic. Tears. Immediately we start to organise ourselves, we will cook for the family during the week, take care of the kids whenever necessary, collect money to help them financially. And we suddenly realise how close death can be, how frail life can be, how we MUST live it, enjoy it, make the most of it as long as it lasts. Seize the Day! And that’s also the message Bibian is resonating when she starts her blog. To somehow cope with her situation, she has picked up an old passion: writing. Every day, she shares her feelings, her fears, her pains, her love, fragments from her daily life, and from her difficult childhood. Her writing is wonderful, witty, beautiful, funny, honest, and addictive. She gets many followers. There are interviews, articles in newspapers, and she starts to write a weekly column in a magazine. She’s approached for a book deal.

Bibian made the most of it. She finished the CD they were working on. Spent wonderful weekends in the countryside with her little family. Met with friends to go to the theatre. Taught her kids how to make the perfect chocolate cake.
She died end of July, at home, surrounded by her loved ones. And her book was published last week. If you’re Dutch, or read Dutch, then this book comes highly recommended. A CD with acoustic songs she recorded with her husband this past spring is included with the book.

Seize the day.

xxx Esther

PS Bibian’s husband Klaas also writes a beautiful blog, about his love, and loss, and life. You can find it here.


Comments (7)

Jackie van den Bergh
September 18, 2012

She is beautiful. I am very sorry for the loss of your friend. I have had cancer and the fragility of life is never far from my daily living. I wish life was very different. It seems so unfair that such a wonderful woman does not get to have a wonderful life with her family and friends.

Courtney in London
September 18, 2012

I wish I could read/understand Dutch because I would love to read her book.
Although I never met Bibian, her story touched me so deeply, and it is such a strong reminder of how fragile life is, and how we should all be so grateful for our health and life’s simple gifts.
I remember reading her blog (translating it through Google Translate) and being so touched by her honesty and compassion. She was a really great writer, and I’m sure the book is a reflection of this…

September 18, 2012

My thoughts are with her family and friends. Peace.

September 18, 2012

Esther thank you for sharing Bibian’s story…it’s a subject close to so many people…without any insight one can paint an incredibly dark and fearful picture…but as you have captured so well it also comes with a greater knowledge and understanding about the fragility and wonder of life…namaste…X

Emilie in Paris
September 18, 2012

What a powerful story, I also wish I could read Dutch to read Bibian’s book. Life is very unpredicable, xxx

September 19, 2012

I’ve read so many of Bibian’s posts, and this morning also many of Klaas’. How eloquent to be able to put such feelings and experiences into such beautiful words. My eyes are blinking back the tears. What a powerful reminder of how fragile and how valuable life is. Thank you xxx

Maria in Oviedo, Spain
September 20, 2012

I would love to read the book to remind ourselves how happy be have to be every second of this life. I am sorry for the loss of your friend and all my love to her family. And thanks for sharing such pesrsonal and hard moments.

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