In 2019 I wrote my first blog, about my little brother. Because of the overwhelming response, I am now posting it here, albeit in Dutch.
Today, March 5, is a day with a double meaning for me.
I notice that my feelings go in all directions. Strengthened by my promise to share more with you, I write this personal story. Why? No idea! Just because I want to say it, and encouraged by a dear friend, who recently came into my life, I crawled behind my laptop. Pretty exciting, but let's go!
At 00.00h I first congratulate the dear friend of our oldest son. For over two and a half years I finally have the 'daughter' with whom I can talk about other things than soccer in this male household full of testosterone. Which I will never know enough about anyway, according to the men. I am so proud of her and I cherish the moments when the two of us are sitting around with a cup of tea, chatting about anything and everything.
Everyone's own story
This day is especially dedicated to you, my brother, Araldo. Your wish will be fulfilled today.
Just last week I told about you to a good friend whom I have met for about twenty years in my working life. Do you know that? Sometimes there are years in between, but when you see and speak to each other again, you just move on, each from his own story.
This was also the case on that Friday. It had been a while since Paul and I had spoken to each other and we finally succeeded after countless attempts to get on the phone.
Jeez, we've both been through a lot, call it a turbulent time! But the funny thing is, we both seem to cherish this time with its ups and downs. Crazy huh? Is it because we both believe that you can learn every day? That things or issues come your way that challenge you, or the desire and need to change? Or because of the knowledge that deep valleys can only bring high peaks?
Really no idea, but if there is something I have become increasingly aware of in the past year, it is that 'awareness' and 'connection' are only there if you yourself are quietly open to this.
I talked about the past year: the departure from Volksbank, the conscious choice to take time for myself first, my fantastic trip to Harvard, my search for a new job, the beautiful 21-dinner party of our eldest, my parents who were married for 50 years and of course about the farewell of you, my 'little brother' Araldo. Your little brother?
Yes, I'll start at the beginning and go back to the year, what was it, 1981? You were 6 and I was 12.
In the first grade, now group 3, you came to school with me at the Petrus Dondersschool. Going to school for the first time, in a class with all boys and girls. Boys and girls who had brothers and sisters at home, only you unfortunately did not. One day you came to me in the schoolyard and asked me with your tough look and beautiful dark eyes: Do you want to be my big sister? Yes, of course I said! I already had a sweet little sister and I had always wanted a little brother.
I went to your house for lunch and was welcomed with open arms by your wonderful parents. I was involved in everything, invited to birthdays and just had a whole family! I remember you and your girl next door, Debby, performing as Jermaine Jackson and Pia Zadora with the song: 'When the rain begins to fall....'. In retrospect I now think: how appropriate, that song!
In any case, it was the beginning of a beautiful and profound friendship of many years that few people understood. We didn't care!
Pure = real and pure
'Gee, what a story,' Paul said to me. Wow, how beautiful, how cool!
After a moment of silence, in which I try to see, or is it feel, what is happening in front of me, the ratio comes up and his question: 'What made him come to you from all the girls in the schoolyard?
Well if I knew, I could tell you. I told Paul that I certainly asked him that, but that the rational answer just wasn't there.
Just pure connection? Or as the Dikke van Dale adds: 'unadulterated'.
Well actually 'nothing ordinary' about it, at least if you try to understand it. I really don't have a clear answer to this, but what I do know is that 'that moment' led to a pure friendship, bias-free.
The real change starts with...
Sadly, exactly six months ago today, last September, Araldo lost his year-long battle against lung cancer. Much too soon, only 43 years old. I cherish the moments that we could be there for each other. Scarce, but above all pure and intense. And I feel that he is with me now.
His example in his purity has given me many insights and inspiration. That every change is possible, if only you really want it. Where there is a will, there is a way. Falling down and getting up are part of it!
In my next blog you can read why pure connection is the first step for any change you make. Whether that is with another person, your organization, your team. It starts with yourself!
Make it a great week!