In a week it’s been 4 months since you died and almost two months since I last wrote you a letter. Is that a long time or a short time? Time. That abstract concept has gained a whole new meaning in my life. There are practically only 3 blocks on my timeline that I can currently relate to: The time before you died. The time after you died. And today … what happens right here and now. Within each of these, everything melts together, especially what happened after you died but before today. Was it yesterday, last week or last month? Not only do I not know … I really don’t care. In fact, almost all of my life awake is about you in one way or another. If I do not talk about you or think of you, I do something to actively avoid thinking about you. Not because I don’t want to remember you, but as a self-defence, a free haven, as it makes me so incredible sad every time the reality of your death hits me.
Last time I wrote you, I had a whole lot of things going on. With others I worked to spread the message of how to recognize a meningococcal infection early enough to be able to do something about it and we have been working at different levels to change the culture of our health system so that we can learn from mistakes made; Among other things, from the mistakes made when you died – mistakes that really never gave you even the slimmest chance to survive. With the help of Danish National TV, we have launched a ship and we know we have already made a difference; probably already saved a life. It gave us a meaning in life – a real reason to get up in the morning. We could, spiritually stand shoulder to shoulder with you, together fight for future meningococcal infected, so they get a much better chance than you, Mathias and Christopher ever got.
Now, with meetings, documentaries radio and TV-appearances over with, we wake up in the morning with one less reason to get up. A little less meaning in life. In that, I know, we are far from unique. In our grief-group we meet too many parents who struggle to find meaning since the most important thing in their lives died. As a moth to the flame, I still go back to the group – though it always hurts me with its huge amount of the most terrible concentrated sadness. On the question of why I do that, the only answer I can come up with, is that it’s because no one else really understands. Communicating with other people whose frame of reference is the same as my own means a lot when trying to find answers to current questions of life – not least the very big one: What’s the meaning?
For the last few weeks, I’ve been so significantly worse than before, that I feared I was heading for a “real” depression. There is a lot of overlap between the way I have felt for the last 4 months and the classic indications of depression, but my state of mind is changing. Last time I wrote you, I was not feeling well. The intensity of the shock was decreasing, the pain was constant and the intensity of the loss was increasing. The intensity of all these emotions did however very from day to day – I could have relatively “good” days once in a while. Compared to how I feel now, it’s as those feelings then were almost superficial. At the moment I feel locked in a deep dark hole. My psychologist thinks, for various reasons, that I am not suffering from a depression as such. In the present, of course, it doesn’t really matter; I feel like I do, no matter what I or a psychologist call it, but I can easily see that if in the middle of everything I was going to have to treat a real depression, it would not make life less complicated.
Recognition is not binary. Recognition exists on many levels. Had anyone, on the evening of January 1st, 2017, asked us if you were dead or alive, we would answer that you were dead. The lowest level of recognition is the factual. We were also then in the deepest shock, so on all other levels there was no realization. As the days went by and as they became weeks, I realized on several levels that you did not exist in the present. You were dead – I couldn’t call you, I couldn’t watch you play football, I could not embrace you … You. Were. Not. There. It is an indescribably hard and painful realization, but for my part, it was a piece of cake to take in, compared to the next, to what I am experiencing now: The recognition that you will not be there in the future. It’s as if you continue to die, again and again. First, you die in reality. Then you die in the recognition of the present. Next, you die in the future – and that happens every damn day I wake up to face it.
As you may know(!), I have been contacted by a clairvoyant who tells me he has been in contact with you. You and I were both equally sceptical about that kind of thing before you died. Before I talked to him, I had the perfect control question. No matter how sceptical I am; If you answered that question … I would know you, or some element of you, really were somewhere in some form. Unfortunately, “it” does not work that way. I have nevertheless opened my mind and thought: OK, it could be right. Perhaps the energy of life is permanent and independent of the body. Then came the considerations: What would I get out of communicating with you? If you exist on another level, a level, I as mortal, simply do not understand, how can I then understand the communication that necessarily has a frame of reference in that plane? What if you tell me that the existence of that plane is so much better than the existence on the earth … why then wait for death? Why not just end this life and join you on your plane? Having considered this and many other questions I have, all in all, decided not to contact you through a medium. “What if Hans really has something important he wants to tell you” says a good friend. I can only say – you are/were the most resourceful person I know. If you have a message you think is important, then you’ll find a way to get it communicated to me. Possibly by contacting the same medium and ask him to pass on the message. Oh, and while you are at it, if at the same time, you could indicate the answer to that secret only you and I know, that would be really cool.
So what happens next? My love for you is as painful as it is strong. I will continue to try to use it constructively in my life while learning to live that life without you. I have yet to even get close to succeed. It seems to be an infinitely difficult task right now. At the same time, I will not forget my love for your brothers and your mother. For my sister. For friends. Unfortunately, it is also painful to see not only their grief over your death but also the grief of our inability, in the shadow of your death, to show and celebrate our love for each other.
Dear Hans. Trusted friend. My dearest little treasure. Hopefully, it will get better and easier over time. Time. That abstract concept has gained a whole new meaning in my life. Time hardly heals all, and in any case it works unbearably slowly.