My Life without You

Simone Ruyters - her brushes, one of her paintings
To all my friends and those who enjoy reading my blog: please forgive the silence, my mother passed away on 12 March, she was 101 years old. It's been very painful for her and of course for her family but now at last, she rests in peace. The last time I talked on my blog about her was on the occasion of her 100th birthday, back in 2013, and  I uploaded a page about her, "Ruyters: A Painter's Life", you can see it here (she worked every day until 2009 when she declared she couldn't see well enough to go on). I found it difficult to keep up with my blog and instead wrote a poem that I dedicate to her:


The First Days of My Life without You


The first day of my life without you
I cannot believe it has happened,
Your eyes are closed, your lips don’t move,
You will never smile at me again.
You look so serene in your sleep. Are you still breathing?
I stare at the brown-striped blanket covering your body,
I think I see the cotton threads moving slightly,
But nothing moves.

The second day of my life without you,
The lid comes down over your face.
The Church is dark and peaceful, flowers cover your bier.
This is the last time we are together.
Outside the sun has lit up the spring sky,
Rome looks the way you have always loved it,
You are carried out by four men in a silvery car,
You are gone and I’m left with my tears.

The third day of my life without you,
I see in your house all the things you have loved,
I want to leave them the way they always were,
Yet I cannot, life must go on.
I find your paint box in a corner where you used to work,
The paint has dried in the tubes, unusable.
On the table, your brushes are crowded in pots,
Wooden stems sticking up, like dead flowers.

I don’t want to throw anything out.
I look at your paintings around me, on the walls,
Silent witnesses of your life, they live on.
But I have something more, my memories of you,
Special moments between a mother and her daughter,
Moments that only you and I have lived through,
Moments that will live on as long as I do,
All the coming days of my life without you. 

Simone Ruyters at her easel, fifty years ago

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