Thursday, November 17, 2011

Epilogue : Why Mano's key means so much to me

This is about my father.

One day, it was about a year before his retirement, my father woke up and couldn't get out of bed.
He called my mother, he could not move his legs.
My mother phoned the doctor, an ambulance brought my dad to the local hospital.
They didn't know what to do and decided it was best to bring  him to the nearest university hospital.
Meantime the paralysis crept slowly towards his pelvis.
They took him to intensive care, the paralysis reached his shoulders.
If it would go up, further to his head he would go into a coma.
He was in great pain, we were desperate, distraught, lost.
The doctors brought him into an artificial sleep.
Lots and lots of medical examinations,tests, questions.

Diagnosis, a very, very rare disease, a virus in the spinal cord.

After weeks and lots of medication they made him wake up and he was moved to a regular hospital room.
My dad could hear,speak,see and think but his body was paralized.
No doctor knew what was comming or how far he would recover but they were far from optimistic.
Months went by, there was no improvement.
We began to understand he would probably never walk again.
We all had feared the worst on intensive care but this thought paralized us too in a way.
My father spent another eight months in a revalidation center, and after a long and hard physiotherapy
he was able to sit in a wheelchair, to use his arms and hands again.

The day he came home was a very strange day.
We were so very happy he was still with us, but what was their life going to be.
We all cried.
I didn't mention my mother through this whole story.
All the time her husband was in hospital, there was not one day she went not to see him and sat at his side.
Being home brought many changes.
In the beginning it was so very,very hard.
I think i cried each time on my home after visiting them.
But they found a way to cope,they managed, they were so strong, and forever they will have my admiration.
My father always had been a quiet,serene man, he was never a great talker.
He loved to be outside, i guess i have my dreamy side from him and my love for birds.
Laying in his bed by the big window he watched the birds, he loved to watch documentaries about nature.
He read the paper , magazines, books. And he began to talk and tell stories about his life.
Stories we never heard before.
He talked with his friends or anyone passing by about politics, economics and sports.
He loved sports, as a young man he practiced cross-country running and he was very good at it.
He looked happy when he was talking, he found pleasure in telling you all kinds of things.
My father made the very best of his life in a wheelchair and my mother was like a rock he could support on.
Without her his life would have been very different, she wheeled him everywhere, took him on holidays to the seaside.
She nurtured him with  love and dedication 'till the end.

When life gets difficult and times are dark i think of my dad's braveness, his struggle to make the best of life
despite the circumstances. He means perseverance and flexibility, he means watching the birds and just be happy doing so,
he means very blue eyes full of stories, he means lots of precious things.
I don't really feel sad thinking of him, those days are left behind. You would understand if you had seen him
smile and laugh and have fun and talk and talk. He is in my heart forever, strong and loving and i love him too,dearly. When i dream of him he is not sitting in a wheelchair, he walks.

I started this blog to share my art with you.
Without Mano's key, that now belongs to me :)i would never had written this story here.
But i guess my dad is there sometimes, in the colours i use or between the birds i paint.


  1. wonderful renilde, now i have to love you. x julia

  2. Beautiful story of your father ...and also of your mother; the love and strength they had for each other is very beautiful.

    I lost my father to illness, it was sad to see him as he failed but I always look back on his life with great thankfulness; my father is in my heart forever. I think we carry our fathers in all we see and do. They are always with us.

  3. dear renilde, what a wonderful story about your father (and mother!). I can understand you - my father died in the age of 56, but he is in so many things I do.
    thank you very much for your words.

  4. dear Renilde
    thank you. thank you for sharing this story with us.
    it gives me a sence of perception. strenght and hope.

    i am glad you have his key and his colours on your pallets

  5. How very precious life is, memories traverse time and space, and aren't we glad for happy memories, we visit our loved one again.

    You are a ❤ friend.

  6. es admirable seguir sonriendo en los fuertes cambios de la vida. realmente admirable.

  7. So beautiful Renilde...every word of your stroy touches my soul..your father is amazing and the whole journey you all went through is heart-touching, inspiring and powerful! Our loved ones are so special and so courageous and powerful and we each are gifts to one another!Thankyou for sharing such a deep and beautiful story...hugs and much love and Saluti to Mano and to you!
    Hugs friend

  8. Amazing what a "key" can open- thank you for sharing such a deeply personal and beautiful story in your life Renilde. Reading it has enriched my morning!
    much love-

  9. dear your father's wonderful strength is something i'll remember. thank you. mano's key is opening the stories in you like your father's paralysis opened the stories in him.
    thank you so much for writing this. your story is beautiful and full of such love.

  10. Renilde,

    ik was hier even niet geweest
    en las nu pas het verhaal van de sleutel
    wat een mooi gebaar van Mano
    en wat een ontroerend verhaal
    dankjewel voor het delen
    en vandaag geen zin in engels
    gewoon in nederlands, zoals ik ook met je zou praten


  11. such a touching story ... just read your post too about Mano's key :)

  12. Renilde, I am just visiting again after too long away and I read this story of your father. What a beautiful soul you are to share such a thing with us! You have your father's strength, I can see that. Many thanks for this and for your art, always a joy.