On the 23rd of November 2016 I lost my wife Eveline. She was only 47 years young. For more than 20 years she battled with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. A decease with an unknown cause, for which there is no cure. It causes extreme fatigue, depressions, anxiety disorders and other ailments. Every day was a struggle for her. Even more so in the last few months of her life. The thought of the decease becoming worse and worse and almost certainly making her completely bedridden was too much for her. She decided it was enough. After she did her best to prepare me and her family for what was to come, she ended her life. She took some pills, fell asleep and didn't wakeup anymore. Leaving a beautifully written letter behind, telling me and her family we were not to blame, in the contrary. Even though I'm completely devastated, I fully understand why she did it and I also believe it was a brave decision to make. Eveline was the most beautiful human being I have ever met and she made my life so much more better than it was. She had a great sense of humor, was always ready to help me and others around her, was very concerned with animal welfare and had a great talent for writing short stories. She also wrote a beautiful book about our dog Sammy (who past away in 2015) and her struggle with CFS. She was very strong, but also very vulnerable.
Every day, even more so when I look at photos and videos of her, I feel the enormous pain of what I've lost. But I also feel very privileged that I had her in my life. She made me a better person and I feel good that I was there for her whenever she needed me and she was there for me.
As a tribute to her life I want to share some my favorite pictures of her.
Our wedding day, on the 5th of September 2008. We married earlier than planned, as my father had cancer and didn't have long to live. It was a beautiful day. My father was so happy to be there. Sadly he died not long after. The moment this picture was taken, the ordained minister made a joke about Eveline coming late at our first date. He was a very funny guy and made us laugh often.
Taken on one of our holidays in Germany. While I was taking pictures of the dam she was patiently wating, not aware I was also taking this picture of her. This was one of our best holidays. Eveline happened to feel very fit, so we did a lot trips and walks together.
Eveline didn't like being a model for me. She thought she wasn't beautiful (enough). This was one of the few times she made an exception for my macro ring light project. This was actually just a test shot, to test the settings on the flash and camera. Probably for that reason she was very relaxed and made funny model poses, thinking they wouldn't end up on my website anyway.
Eveline loved animals and especially dogs. In 2014 we went on a holiday to Germany with our dog Nikki, who loves to walk, run and swim. We had a great time together.
One other time Eveline modeled for me. It began as a joke, regarding a photography competition. The subject was wet. So I suggested she would go stand in the rain for me without her bra, until her clothes became see through. With that picture I would certainly win the competition :). To my surprise she agreed. But she later asked me to crop the picture, because her breast weren't those of a 20 year old. I didn't win ;)
As I said, Eveline had great sense of humor. While waiting for our boat we discovered this shark. Eveline thought it would make a great Sharknado photo.
Shot in an hotel on her elders wedding anniversary. Eveline found this glass case full of deserts. It drew her attention because Eveline loved deserts.
Walking with Nikki in our hometown Leusden on a beautiful summer day. The dark autumn and winter days made her feel depressed and Eveline always looked forward to spring and summer. Than she felt at her best.
After a wild ride in theme park Efteling, Eveline was completly soaked. We had great time trying out all the rides.
Eveline resting, after we had done some shopping. I was shooting some pictures of the surroundings and quickly shot this picture of her. I loved to go shopping with her. Obviously not the part where I had to wait for her to find the right clothes. But to drink some coffee toghter on a terrace, enjoying our fee time, grab a cheese sandwhich and talk about what we might do that day. Go to see a movie or buy some flowers for our garden. It was these little things we both appreciated.
This was taken on the wedding day of good friends of ours (it's a selfie). It was my first experience as a wedding photographer. Probably also my last, as it's a pretty stressfull job. Always being alert and no second chances. Eveline and I enjoyed the afterparty though.
Eveline was a talented writer. She wrote a lot of short stories about our daily life. These stories were often very funny and sometimes also quite touching (such as the one she wrote about my father, who had passed away). She published a booklet with these short stories for wich I made the illustrations. We were both very proud of the result. This photo was made for our local newspaper, who wrote an article about this publication.
September 2016, shot during our holiday in Italy. It would be our last. Eveline didn't have much energy and spend a lot of her time sleeping in our hotel room. Even lying next to the swimming pool, was sometimes too exhausting for her. In the last few days of our vacation we visited a couple of cities together. It must have been very strenuous for her and I suspect she did these trips also for me. She often felt sorry for me, being alone a lot of the time. Even though I always assured her she shouldn't worry about me. That I was fine.
Eveline, you'll always be with me.