Wednesday, 29 February 2012



We were fellow model makers..."wigetters" on ALIEN. We sat next to each other for the first few weeks as worked together on the spaceship NOSTROMO.

You were loved. I will really miss you.

Until we see each other speeches...

Save me the seat next to you where you are now...perhaps there will be the big model we can work on together. I'll show up again carrying another suitcase.

Love you very much Brother.

Jon Sorensen

Dear Simon............

Well what a shock it was to hear of your passing Simon, and like all these shocks that are presented to us in life, a sudden flood of memories of days gone by come raining down.
I knew you in Beaconsfiled in 1971 when you used to come barging into my flat while I was asleep on the bay window ledge one summers day to drag me out into the warm summer sun - I declined of course!!
I knew you when we worked together building that model of St. Paul's Cathedral in a pokey industrial unit filled with fibre glass resin fumes, we joked and pulled each others legs as we rolled another cigarette in those heavy fumes, young, inexperienced and very rude we were.
We worked together on 'Alien' and had laughs at life with it's crazy rational thinking.
We went our own separate ways in the mid 80s and lost touch while building our empires and finding new friends.
Thankfully we managed to find each others friendship again over these last few years and I am forever grateful that we did. It was good to recapture the silliness we had lost and find that all that really matters is that we use our time on this Earth to good effect while we are able.

Be good old mate


Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Smiling Sensei

Dear Simon,

In our hearts you will always be remembered for the smile you wore during classes, and the silly but amazing techniques you showed us. Rest in peace, you will be missed. 

Marrie, Emma, Hanneke, Maarten, Jaro & Chiel

In addition, some of us wanted to express some more additional words in your memory. 

Emma's personal message:
Ik heb even bij Simon mogen trainen, veel te kort, sinds september. Zijn Aikido had ik wel eerder gezien, bij stages's, begreep nooit zo goed wat hij nou eigenlijk deed! het zag er zo makkelijk uit, tot je het zelf ging proberen en er niets van kon maken! 
Wat ik nooit zal vergeten, is hoe Marrie en ik zijn verwelkomd in zijn dojo. Het gevoel dat je zo welkom bent is bijzonder geworden, en iets wat ik zal herinneren aan Simon.
Veel sterkte gewenst voor zijn familie en dojo.

Jaro's personal message:
The camper rolled on the field, in there was a man. A small beard, but a big smile on his face. Giru-san introduced me, so I said the first thing that came to my mind. "You want a beer?" The smile grew a bit wider, and so we sat there. My first night at the Yuwakai Summerschool, back in 2007. And my first introduction to you, the broad smile and a few minutes later, an even broader smile and a beer. 

On the tatami, you were the one with the devious tricks, placing your hand a bit different so you can take over, when Tori was attempting a technique. Top speed, a whole lot of words, and always a broad smile. Two three times, and the: "Let's try". Especially with your boken (wooden sword). Quickly, looking around, see us goofing, shake your head. One more show and off again. Putting ikkyo, nikkyo, sankyo etc. in one move. My complete disregard for technique made me hate that exercise. But every training I went which was lead by you, we did it at least once! It was only after I decided to take a different look at techniques, that I started to value the exercise.

In my Aikido journey I met you, you taught me. And the greatest lesson you taught me was the nonchalance, the charm and the smile. You seemed to enjoy every moment of life to the fullest. Although maybe a cliche to say, but you really did it. By doing so you made sure that everybody felt welcome in your dojo, and in your presence.

So Simon, where ever you are: keep smiling.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

My Brother

Simon, my brother, I am so glad we re-found each other in later years.
I am so glad that we had warning of your demise, we could spend time thinking, drinking, laughing and roaring at the world before finally the silence came.
You were not perfect, you were flawed, but so are we all and we worked through our differences in a way many brothers never manage to even begin.
Thai food, the shared films, red wine, indian food, fun cars, whisky, pub grub, snooker..... So many adult memories that cannot be taken away, sadly some things never done but no regrets.
I am crying as I write this, I cannot help it but I am not ashamed. You are irreplaceable, you were incorrigible, and always inescapable, and sometimes indefatigable in defence of a spurious argument.
Thank God we hugged, said good bye and told each other we loved the other before you went.
All my love

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Dad's Party

You are hereby invited to come and celebrate dad's life on the 10th of March 2012. RSVP before 5 March! (As of March 6th, there are still a few seat available!)

The celebration will be split into two dad-like activities. The first will be a special memorial aikido class organised by the Aikidojo Haarlem. The second will be a big dinner party in what dad used to call his 'office': the India Palace in Haarlem.

Memorial Aikido Class 
14:30 – 17:00 at the Oosterhoutlaan 19, Haarlem  
Jack Poole is going to try and come to take (some of the) class. However, if he is not able to manage the trip, class will be led by some of dad's friends and students. RSVP here
Dinner Party
18:00 onwards at the Gedempte Oude Gracht 29, Haarlem 
There will be an Indian buffet with a number of dishes, including dad's favourite: Simon Special (hotter than extremely hot! Be careful!). Soft drinks, beer and wine are included. Additionally, a few bottles of whisky will be offered after dinner as a gift from some of dad's generous friends. It might be a nice idea for everyone who has one, to bring along a fun, pretty or silly picture of dad. I'll have some glue and pencils ready, with a big fat book for sticking the pictures in. RSVP here.

To help us cover the costs of dad's party, an envelope, basket, bucket, or other kind of container will be present at the party for anyone willing to contribute to put something in.


Where to begin?

I have been coming to the Netherlands since I first met Mr Bacas in 1978 and since 1980 these visits were made from Japan. Whenever I came to the Netherlands and visited Haarlem, I always spent some 'quality time' with Simon: drinking tea at home, testing my mouth against the flaming curries prepared at a number of restaurants (my mouth always failed the tests), eating 'power' breakfasts (always including sausages) or drinking stronger stuff than tea in the dining room / whisky bar of the Carlton Square Hotel, dining at the fort or elsewhere, with or without Martijn and Louison. The whisky bar was once the place of a memorable evening with Simon and especially Liduina discussing Plato and from now on I shall be somewhat lost if I go to a Thai or Indian restaurant in Haarlem, for Simon usually ordered for me.

I think our paths crossed more in Holland than in the UK, but I recollect numerous references in past conversations to M Kanetsuka, the Sekiyas, Hillfield Road, and fishing with K Chiba. Once, however, our paths crossed in Japan and Simon is still fondly remembered in Hiroshima for some of the things he is remembered for in Holland: friendship, good conversation, enjoying good food and drink. I had hoped that the 'bucket list' he was compiling would have included another trip.

But it was not to be and Simon has left us. Condolences to Liduina and all the family -- and have a very good party on March 10.

Peter Goldsbury
Chairman (General Director)
International Aikido Federation (IAF)

Friday, 24 February 2012

The loss of a dear friend

We are very sad to hear of Simons passing.  Thank you Tasmin for your blog throughout the past few weeks. You painted such a picture it felt as though we were there with you all, and shared in a precious time.
Out heart goes out to Liduina and the family and we will miss Simon more than you can tell. Simon became part of Jack family when he was little more than a boy and was always a thorn in Jacks side even though he was a loveable one.
As the years went by the bond became tighter and Jack can’t express enough the pain or the feeling that he has, at the loss of Simon. His memory will burn on in his heart.
Good night old friend.
Jack  Marill  Sharon  Emma and Felicity

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

A brother-in-law's retrospective

When I got to know Simon in the early and mid 80s, he and Liduina were living in Burnham, in the south of England. Whenever I had to confer with my tutor at Reading University I would spend one or two nights there and we would chat, have dinner and a drink (or two). I remember one evening Simon giving me a tour of the haunts and watering holes (there were a few of those) where he used to hang as a teenager. I have fond memories of those Burnham visits, and an anecdote or two to tell!.

It soon became apparent to me that Simon was not what you would call conventional. His creative streak was glaringly obvious (as testified by the various modelled objects in the yard and garage), and this streak reflected his mind, as from his remarks and interjections it transpired that he looked at life from a totally different angle - "out of the box" in today's jargon. In one conversation, we agreed that he was probably the reincarnation of a druid - which became a sort of running joke, but I believe it would explain much, including his love of and commitment to Aikido (with its intrinsic spirituality and rituals), his indifference to a "bourgeois" way of life (though he would not have used that term), and all things "magical" (including Apple products!). You might say that Simon lived *in* this society but was not *of* this society.

Yet throughout the ups and downs of his life (there were a few of those, too), he always remained optimistic and true to himself, drawing fulfillment from personal relationships, his family, his sport, helping others with PC issues, rather than from pecuniary gain.

One thing is for sure: there wasn't a malicious thread in him, and if there were more Simons this world would surely be a better place.

I will miss him.
More to the point though: who will now do the filming at our family gatherings?

With much love to Liduina, Tasmin, Maya and Galen,


Graag wil ik jullie ook de volgende mail doorsturen:

Beste Jeanette

Diep geschrokken door het overlijden van Simon
wil ik jullie persoonlijk condoleren voor deze verlies.
Groet Ernesto

Condolences from Yamada Sensei

Dear Marcel,

Could you please pass on the following message to concerned parties from Yamada Sensei,

"Yamada Sensei was greatly saddened by the sudden passing of Simon.

Over the years he greatly enjoyed Simon's unique personality and hospitality, and he will be truly missed.

Yamada Sensei would like to offer Simon's grieving family his most sincere condolences."

Thank you, Tim

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Wake / Afscheidsfeest

Dad decided he wanted his body to be put to use after he'd passed away. This means there will not be a funeral, nor a cremation. Dad's body has been donated to science.

What dad would really like, is for us to have a party in honour of his life (instead of to sit around and sulk). 

This party will take place on the 10th of March. Details will follow.


Many years ago

Many years ago, I met Simon in Aikidojo in Amsterdam. At the time I was struggling to involve new people in organizing the NCAF. Simon came to talk to me and in his usual friendly stride inquired what I was trying to achieve and with his usual disdain for formality sort of gave me his opinion.
Quite opposite from what I expected from the conversation initially, he sort of changed his opinion. He never became one for meetings and organization, but he was always involved, always had a considered opinion, always supported whatever we tried in his own manner.
Who has trained with Simon has an example of what sempai can mean: the warmth of a senior who will share his experience, look after you, cherish you in his own way. I have experienced that feeling outside of the training as well.
I have known Simon for more than 20 years. I am certain I will remember him vividly for the next 20 years. I will miss the support, the reality-check, the humor.
But I will also miss one of the reasons to actually be involved in organizing Aikido: friends in dojos that make the effort worthwhile.
Let's all take a bit of Simon into our lives he will be with us always. And remember, he is probably having a good time with the ferryman.

Finally, my best wishes for Liduina, Maya, Tasmin and Galen. If we miss him so much, you must miss him so much more.


Afscheid van Simon

Lieve Liduina,Tasmin,Maya, Galen, Martijn en alle betrokken Aikido vrienden,

Hierbij wil ik jullie condoleren met het vertrek van Simon, het afscheid duurde een tijd en dan is hij er plotseling niet meer.
Om zo veel mogelijk bij hem te zijn ben ik de laatste maanden samen met Erik Louw naar de maandelijkse Aikido training gekomen.
Het was fijn te zien dat Simon dit op prijs stelde.

Als Aikido vriend hebben we veel mee gemaakt en hebben we onze kinderen zien opgroeien.
Erik Louw is op dit moment in Argentinië en vandaag heb ik hem gesproken en hij wenst jullie allemaal sterkte.

De blog gaf me het gevoel dat ik dicht bij hem kon zijn en ik stel het bijzonder op prijs dat jullie dit met anderen hebben willen delen.
De foto van zijn dode lichaam was confronterend maar gaf me de mogelijkheid om het verlies van zijn leven te verwerken.

Hierbij wens ik jullie veel sterkte met het verwerken en ik zie jullie snel om samen afscheid te nemen.

Met dierbare groeten,
Niek Remkes


A friend passed away..........

Dear Liduina,Tasmin,Maya en Galen,

I was so sad to receive the message that Simon passed away. It was
comforting to know that Simon was surrounded by his family and beloved
ones. Your blog gave us the opportunity to be close yet so far away.

Simon is a special Aikido-buddy to me. More that 20 years ago our
Aikido-paths crossed and we've been bumpin' on eachother on and off
the tatami eversince. I want to express my sincere gratitude for all
the good times with Simon. Laughing, having a drink, experiencing his
Aikido on the tatami and always joking about silly
Simon is a close friend of our dojo for many years. We truely enjoy
his seminars: his Aikido endeavour is enormous and his teachings
always opens new perspectives. Simon is a kind and warm person, always
speaking fondly about his family and always prepared to share. He will
be truely missed.........
I'm sure that he's watching us from above and smiling. I guess he'll
resume training soon with the other big Aikido-dudes above........


Rob & Yvonne de Wolff
Instructors & members
Niseikan Dojo Uden


Lieve Liduina,Tasmin,Maya en Galen,
Wij willen jullie condoleren met het verlies van Simon
Wij vonden het indrukwekkend om het blog te lezen en zo dicht bij Simon's sterven betrokken te zijn.
Bedankt Tasmin. Onze bewondering gaat uit naar de liefdevolle verzorging en rust die Simon de laatste weken van jullie heeft ontvangen.
Wij wensen jullie veel liefde, kracht en mooie herinneringen in deze dagen.
lieve groet,
Miriam en Niek Veldhuis

Bij het overlijden van Simon Deering Sensei

Hallo Tasmin,
Deze mail heb ik aan mijn leerlingen gestuurd en aan andere aikido collega sv an Simon.  Van YUwakai en daarbuiten.
Ik ken jou niet, heb je wellicht 1 keer in Laren op de camping ontmoet?
Deze mail hoef je overigens niet te plaatsen in  de bloq maar ik kon geen ander adres van jou vinden.
Persoonlijk wil ik jou en jullie veel sterkte wensen met het overlijden van Simon!
En bedanken voor de bloq omdat het mij en anderen iets minder het gevoel gaf dat we niet konden meeleven noch meehelpen de laatste moeilijke weken
Sho Shin aikido dojo
Paul Janssen
"Aikido is not a technique to fight with or defeat the enemy. It is a way to reconcile the world and make human beings one family"
Morihei Uyeshiba, Founder of Aikido
Hij is de dojo cho van Aikidojo Haarlem:
Simon Deering is een bijzondere Aikido sensei en een van de pioniers in het Nederlandse aikido,
Simon Deering, 5e dan, is de leraar van Aikidojo Haarlem., een broeder dojo van onze dojo Sho Shin aikido dojo, ook aangesloten bij Yuwakai. 
Simon  begon zijn studie in Engeland in 1973 met Jack Poole en Kazuo Chiba sensei, en dan ook na Chiba sensei naar Amerika vertrokken met Minoru Kanetsuka sensei in Londen.
Hij bezocht regelmatig veel verschillende leraren in het weekend en in de zomer cursussen in Engeland en Europa. Simon behaalde zijn zwarte band in 1984, tweede graad in 1994, derde graad band in 2001, vierde graad zomer van 2005 en heeft net zijn vijfde graad in 2011. Tijdens zijn lessen ligt de nadruk niet alleen op techniek, maar ook op conflict management in het algemeen, op en naast de mat. Iemand die aan een agressieve oplossing de voorkeur geeft boven vreedzame, heeft de principes van Aikido niet begrepen.
Simon hecht veel belang in een vriendelijke sfeer in zijn dojo en verwelkomde iedereen die aikido wil trainen buitengewoon hartelijk.
bedankt voor je vriendschap en voorbeeldige aikidojo-cho verantwoordelijkheidsgevoel. Ik koester  mooie herinneringen, ook aan zijn onvergetelijke, onvergelijkbare en daarom unieke gevoel voor humor. Wat hebben we ook gelachen samen!
Simon is na een vastgestelde ernsige ziekte, een half jaar terug, 56 jaar geworden,.Helaas  veel te jong, ik had hem graag nog beter leren kennen!
Wat mij betreft is dit een g  root verlies voor ons en voor onze samenwerking op en buiten de aikidomat!
Met ontroering en respect heb ik de afgelopn weken ook de  bloq gevolgd, die door zijn dochter Tasmin werd geschreven over Simons ziekbed!
Familie, leerlingen, vrienden, sterkte en steun bij dit onvermijdelijke overlijden van jullie vader en man ,leraar en vriend Simon Deering!
Simon, van harte BEDANKT!
Paul Janssen
Sho Shin aikido dojo Amsterdam, een heel mooi oude doos filmpje
facebook aikidojo Haarlem

Dear family

Dear family,

We are very sad to hear that our great Aikido-friend is passed away. Thank you for the effort you made to inform us and made the opportunity to feel close to the process of the last weeks and days.
There are no words to express your loss of your Dad and husband. Simon was a very special guy for many of us.
He was too young, there was still so much to do and enjoy. 

We want to thank him for being the Aikido-friend he has been.

All yours,
Jeanette Tanis
Chairman of Yuwakai

Re: Condoleance

Op 21 februari 2012 16:46 schreef S. Derakhshan <> het volgende:
Geacht Bestuur van Yuwakai,

Namens alle lijnverenigingen van de Aikikai sectie van Aikido Nederland wil ik u condoleren met het verlies van Simon Deering.
Hij zal gemist worden.
Ik wens u veel sterkte.

Met vriendelijk groet,
Siavash Derakhshan
Voorzitter Aikikai Sectie
Aikido Nederland

Met vriendelijke groet,

Jeanette Tanis

Thank you


I want to send you and your family my condolences with this loss.
I also want to thank you, for the blog.
I have appreciated it very much, it was a wonderful way of being close.
I admire your strength to share all the information, which much have been painful at times.
For me, as a friend of Simon, it was so comforting to read about the good care he received from all of you.

Thank you so very much.

My heart and thoughts go out to you and your family.
May peace comfort your pains, and memories fill your hearts with warmth and joy.

Jose Verhoeff


This blog is now open for everyone to publish posts. Any comments or stories about Simon, or about your own experiences with Simon, or messages to the family, or anything else you would like to say may be posted here.

The easiest way to write a post is to send an e-mail to:
tasmindeering.blogpost @
(Remember to remove the spaces around the @-sign when you copy and paste the address!)

Whatever you e-mail to that address will be posted to this blog directly (it will not go to me first). Please write the title of your post in the subject line. All posts will be published as if I were the author, so please sign the e-mail with your own name.

If you would like to write several posts, or write on a regular basis, let me know (tasmindeering @, and I will authorise you to be a registered author to this blog. This would entail you would not have to use the e-mail address to post a message: you would be able to use the interface and your posts would be clearly published by you (instead of supposedly by me).


Sunday, 19 February 2012

Stage two–19:47:50

Hospice volunteer worker Frans would be in with dad from 19:00 to 23:00 today, to give mum and Maya an evening off. When Frans arrived he went upstairs to say hello to dad, and opened the bedroom door to find dad sitting not on his hospital bed, but in the middle of the double bed. (It wasn't the first time in the last couple of days that dad had sneaked back into his own bed...) Dad had his legs folded underneath him and his back was as straight as can be. Frans was immensely astonished by this perfect 'lotus position'. When he told Galen about it later, Galen knew dad's legs hadn't actually been properly folded for it to be a lotus position. Despite that, Galen was also rather impressed. He told me that the way Frans had described it to him, Galen imagined dad to have a clarity and absolute serenity about him, and the way dad sat there in the middle of the bed, in the middle of the room, was much like dad would sit at the side of the mat during Aikido class, overseeing it all.

Frans went back downstairs to make a cup of tea for dad. He heard some stumbling about upstairs and at that moment, Galen came home. Galen corrected Frans' tea-making method before they both went upstairs to bring dad his tea. Dad was now sitting at the foot end of the double bed, with his feet on the floor. Frans had tried to explain to dad it might be a good idea to get back into the hospital bed. Apparently dad had eventually been persuaded and was on his way there. "Gaat de goeie kant op!" dad said. Whatever that meant... but Dutch it was!

Galen stood to one side of dad, Frans to dad's other side, each holding one of dad's hands to help him up. Frans started counting, "Eén, twee..." but then decided English might be better half way through, and started again, "One, two, three..." — and dad just stood up. No difficult pulling and pushing and hassle for 30 minutes before he was able to hold himself, no, just one, two, three, and up. Just like that. Dad crawled back into the hospital bed and started the mumbling game where he talked and talked and Galen was stuck trying to make clear to dad that he was incomprehensible, followed by more mumbling. Then suddenly dad sat up again. He wanted to go outside. Now. Frans explained that wouldn't be a very good idea. And besides, it would be a hell of a task to get dad down the stairs... But dad really wanted to go outside. He even said "Please," which made Galen feel bad. But no, going outside was really not an option.

Eventually dad lay back down into the bed. He started mumbling again—more urgently this time—wanting something. Galen deciphered that a word sounding like ship might mean drink, so he asked, "Ginger ale? Tomato juice?" and got a "Yes" back at tomato juice. So Galen got dad some tomato juice. Dad started breathing slightly quicker than he had been, which disconcerted Frans. Galen noticed Frans got a little nervous, as he started talking more and more, trying to calm dad down (or was it himself he was trying to calm down?) Galen held the tomato juice straw by dad's mouth, but dad wasn't able to close his mouth around it. Galen held dad's head steady with one hand and tried again. Frans' talking continued, until: "Shutup," dad said without opening his eyes. It wasn't exactly unmumbled, so Galen checked, "What was that, did you say 'shut up'?" "Yes." Then dad started drifting, shivering a little. Galen wondered if this was it. Or whether this was just sleep... or maybe the coma. "Ik geloof dat je vader nu naar de Hemel gaat..." Frans said. Galen thought that was a silly way to put it...

Galen still had one hand on the side of dad's head. He looked at dad—and was watching when the exact moment arrived that dad stopped moving, completely. Galen checked his watch: 19:47:50, February 19th, 2012. Dad had been lying still of course, but lying still is not as immobile as... an empty body is.

Bye, bye, daddy.

With a 5 eurocent coin and a 10 yen coin for the ferryman.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Do it

Galen spent last night and all day today with Sjoerd, his boys, and me. I took Galen home around nine in the evening, and went in just to say hello to dad. Galen had gone up ahead of me, so I found Galen in the room with dad, dad sitting upright, and Galen and dad having a (literally) meaningless 'conversation'. Galen sat down on the chair next to dad's bed after I came in, so I sat down on the foot of the double bed right next to dad's hospital bed. Dad was quite talkative, although Galen and I didn't understand most of what dad said. After a while Galen left, he was on his way out to a party. I took Galen's place in the chair, and sat in silence with dad for a while. Dad was staring, sort of through me, not quite looking me in the eyes. He grinned now and again when he seemed to recognise me, or maybe it was just something he'd thought of. After a while dad started talking.

"Can I lead... can I lead you... can I tell you something?"
"Of course..." And then there was silence. So I added, "What would you like to tell me?"
"Lots of things, quite quickly!"
"Okay..." and then dad mumbled quite a lot of things, quite quickly, but hardly anything of what he mumbled sounded like words. He interrupted himself now and again, dropped his head into a slow downward nod with a clear "Yes..." and then started the sentence again, just like he always has done. "I don't understand, dad... You're not saying words..." "Ah, we'll have to try that again then." he said, suddenly quite clearly. He tried to tell me again, but still I didn't follow.

Dad leaned back and pulled his blankets further over him. I sat down nearer to him, and dad held out his hand for mine. So I held his hand, and dad squeezed my hand firmly for a while. Then he gave me his other hand. At first I thought he wanted me to pull him into an upright sitting position, so I gave him my other hand. But dad just took my hand and moved it to the other side of his belly—which is extremely huge and round by now. I had to stand up to be able to hold both of dad's hands, his left in my left to the left of him, his right in my right to the right of him, crossed over his belly. Dad squeezed my hands some more and then put my right hand onto his chest, with his own hand on top, and stroked my hand a couple of times. He started telling me more things, and then said "I'm reaching... I'm reaching out." "Yeah." "Can you?" he said. "Yeah..." I held his shoulder with my right hand which dad had just let go of. "But can you reach? Who can you reach? Anyone?" Was he getting lost in what he was saying by word association? Or was this what he had meant in the first place? "Can you reach? Reach. Do it! Who can you reach? Galen? Martn. Reach them. Maya. Mum. But who else can you reach. All of them. Reach them. Do it." "But what do you mean dad? What should I reach them for?" "Do it!" "Okay, but for what? What do you want?" "Do it, do it now! Do it now!" Dad got quite intense, perhaps even fierce, and he also looked rather worried that I wasn't doing it. Whatever it was. "I want to dad, but I don't know exactly what you mean." "Just do it! Do it then!" "I don't understand, dad..." there was a pause, and then dad said, "Neither do I..." and then he laughed the way he does at the back of his throat, a kind of scraping noise originating from the sound of the letters K followed by a G, with his tongue behind his front teeth and a half-grin on his face. It made me laugh too, so I said, "You're fun. You're a fun dad." "Ah so you can." "I can what?" "You said bdaahr [something something] fun. So you can. I think you do it to everyone!" "What do I do to everyone?" "Make them fun!" It sounded like he meant I cause people to have fun (or that I make boring people more interesting?), but in hindsight, maybe he meant I always make fun of everyone (that might actually make more sense)... "Nice warm-up hand you have!" he squeezed my left hand again.

"Okay I'm stopping now," dad said after a bit, and let go of my hand to pull his blankets towards his chin. "Okay. Shall I put the bed down a bit?" "Yes!" So I lowered the sitting-up part of the bed and adjusted his blankets. Then dad waved at me slightly uncoordinatedly. "Night night!" he said. I bent over and kissed his cheek, and dad kissed mine, and then again, and again. Each time saying "Night night, bye, bye. This is bye." Dad then turned onto his right side—away from me—and struggled with getting his legs into position ("Legs in the way!"). He was also too close to the side of the bed. So I stayed with him until he had moved to the middle of the mattress and I was sure he was comfortable. I adjusted the blankets again, and then dad waved a clumsy bye-bye wave over his shoulder. I bent over and kissed his cheek bye bye, and dad said, "Night night. Night night, Maya..." "Night night, but I'm Tasmin." "Yes I'm not talking to you!" "Ah okay..." and then dad continued, getting mumblier and mumblier, "Night night, Sjoerd... tell him." "Okay, I will. Bye byeee" "Bye byeee" I slowly walked out and closed the door. Then I stood outside his bedroom for a while and listened to dad slowly fall asleep.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012


Sjoerd and I arrived at dad's around dinner time. I went up to see if dad was awake. I walked into his room quietly and sat on the foot end of the double bed, facing dad's hospital bed. Dad was lying on his back with his knees in the air, sleeping. After a short while he suddenly opened his eyes, and saw me watching him. That made him smile. "Hellooo," I said. "Hello!" he grinned, and went back to sleep.

I went back down stairs and started dishing up food for everyone. Nel had left us a choice of mashed potatoes or boiled potatoes, with some kind of processed beef in a thick onion gravy, and beans. It was nice. After dinner I made everyone tea, and then went up to see if dad had woken up yet.

As I walked into dad's room, dad was still lying on his back but with his knees down now, awake, pressing the light switch as hard as he could into the position it was already in. "What are you doing, dad?" It took a while for him to react, "..can't 'member..." "That's the light switch..." after another minute or so he finally let go of the light switch. When he seemed alert enough, I asked "Which are the keys to the fort?" holding up his huge bundle of keys to him. Dad didn't reply, but then mumbled, "Sounds like you're losing some of your brain function!" and after a pause, he added, "Sounds like I have to help you get some brain back..."

Then suddenly dad grabbed the hospital bed trapeze above his head with both hands and concentrated hard with violently shaking arms... "What are you doing, dad?" No reply. Then dad lifted his entire body off the bed and hung there a few inches from the mattress for a few seconds, before he monkeyed himself into a sitting upright position about 30 cm further to the head board than he had been. Impressive. But then he sat staring into the blanket for quite a while, as if he had no idea where he was. And then he uttered a tiny laugh. "What are you laughing at?" "Me... end brain... I'm at end brain... and then I'll be bollocks!"

Dad sat for a while longer, apparently very far away. At some point he lowered his head a bit and started making snoring noises. "Are you going to sleep?" "Not yet." The reply had been immediate, so somehow dad wasn't far away at all... So I tried again: "Can you show me which are the fort keys?" "The what? Where are they?" So I put the keys in his hand. Dad grabbed the key ring and stared at it. He thought for a long, long time. But to me it seemed like he was completely elsewhere. Then suddenly he laughed at himself, and I understood he'd been trying to focus his thoughts on what he had to do. "Where are they?—What is the problem exactly?" Poor dad. "It's not important dad. I can just try them all." "Aaaah okay." He looked relieved.

"Where are my glasses?"
"Here they are," so I helped him put them on. I didn't know why though, maybe so he could see the keys properly? But I thought we'd already let that go... "Are your glasses going?" dad asked. "Mine? No... you're wearing yours though." "Yeah I know."

After a while longer of dad seeming to be far away, but perhaps being a lot more alert than I understood, dad said, "'Cause I'm about to go and have a rest I think." "Okay." I stood up to help him lie down, and dad promptly stuck out his head for a kiss. I gave dad a kiss on his cheek, and dad gave me a kiss on mine. A huge, wet, sloppy one. I remember those from yeeeeears ago! Back when I was tiny! Those always made me say, "Yuck!" I didn't this time though.

Dad lay down and started mumbling "Where are all my things!" "Which things?" "All off them, I'm going to need some more. And I need a rest before people start coming in again." "It's evening now dad, no-one's going to come today any more." "Aaah," that was good news to dad. But he still needed all his things (did he mean his medicine?), so I pointed at his bedside table... full of things... "Naah." it took a while to find out he meant mum and Maya. Because his things had to bring him lunch... "Would you like some dinner?" "Yeah..." I then had to untwist the idea of no-one coming any more not meaning that mum and Maya weren't going to come... so I assured dad I'd let mum and Maya know dad wanted to see them. Dad relaxed, so I said good bye. I gave him another kiss on his cheek (and I got another wet and sloppy one back), and stroked his head. He seemed to like it.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012


At 10:15 this morning, Maya sent me a message saying dad's still here, demanding tea!

Monday, 13 February 2012

False alarm

Sjoerd and I were on our way to string quartet practice this evening, when my phone rang. It was mum. She told me that dad had asked for everyone to come and sit with him. "It's time to let go," he'd said. It was hard to fathom what exactly that meant. Were we okay to have dinner with our string quartet as planned and then return to Noord-Holland to see dad, or was it a right now thing? Would an extra half an hour away matter? Should we rush home immediately? Sjoerd and I had almost arrived at our destination, so we decided to ring the door bell and tell them we'd be off right away... our spectacular Monday evening dinner was waiting for us in the oven—but we left it behind to go and sit with dad.

About forty minutes later we arrived at dad's. The living room was pitch black and deserted, which was unusual. As a matter of fact, all the windows in the front of the house were dark. Galen had heard the front door open so he came down to tell us they were all upstairs with dad. So Sjoerd and I climbed the stairs and joined mum, Maya and Galen in a semi-circle around dad's hospital bed. Dad was sitting up, leaning his head against mum's head. Shortly after we arrived he leaned back and had 'the machine' (the hospital bed) lower him into a lying position. Maya pointed out that I had arrived. Dad turned his head and looked me in the eye, "Hello!" He was glad we'd made it. Dad grabbed my hand and held onto it for a while, repeating, "I'm glad... glad... glad you made it... glad you're all here now... Tasmin broke the record... first time ever..." I don't know what the latter meant.

After a while Galen took dad's hand. "My son," dad said, "my... son." Galen assured dad that he hadn't given up yet, he was still searching for the aikido spirit. He'd still try to follow in dad's footsteps.

A little while later dad got restless. He needed a wee. We all had to leave the room so he could do his business. Mum and Maya stayed to help him. Sjoerd warmed up some food for everyone, and once we were allowed back up we brought the food and ate in dad's room. Dad wanted to sit up again. Then lie back down. Then sit up again... it wasn't looking like he'd be letting go this evening. I went down stairs and made everyone tea, then brought the tea up. Dad was still sitting up, lying down, sitting up... then he wanted drinks. All of them. Ginger ale, milk, water, tomato juice... he drank the lot. But left the tea. Shortly after that he needed another wee. This time he just got out of bed and walked to the bathroom... that doesn't look much like someone who's decided it's time to go.

After dad got back into bed, he was in a lot of pain. A lot. Dad never groaned or moaned when he had a headache, or had surgery... but now the pain is so intense he cringes and winces, sighs, "Ow... owowow..." He wanted more drugs. "Which would you like, dad?" "Drugs! More drugs!" Eventually mum helped him take another 10 mg of oxycodone. It wasn't long until dad wasn't very clear headed any more. He lay down on his side, and snoozed. Galen was the first do decide there wasn't much use waiting for the letting go any more, and went to bed. Sjoerd and I went home a little while later. Maybe dad wants to let go on his own, in the night?

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Stage one

For the sake of today, I'll skip almost a week of blog posts (I have the notes ready and some days already partially written), and tell you about the happening dad has been holding onto, looking forward to and preparing and waiting for for the passed few weeks: dad's grand student Louison's shodan grading.

After a week of contemplating and preparing and eventually deciding, dad stayed at home in stead of going to the dojo, while class was taken by Erik. Lots of people showed up, and from 12:15 till 13:00 Louison was made to work extremely hard. It had been a very difficult exam, but he'd made Erik proud.

Martijn (Louison's father) phoned after the grading to see if it was an appropriate time for Erik, Louison and himself to come round to see dad. Because dad was the one who had to grade Louison. Martijn had told mum over the phone that he'd never seen such a long, tough exam, but that he'd seen lots of nice things. Erik had said that dad would be even prouder than Erik himself, and Erik hadn't been this proud in a long, long time. After the grading Erik had called Martijn to the front of the class and announced, in dad's name, that the dojo will be passed on to Martijn. After that, Martijn sat next to Erik facing the class for the bow that ended practice.

Louison, Martijn and Erik arrived a few minutes after the phone call. They were ushered into the living room while mum went up to see if dad was awake. I offered them a drink while they waited—but before they'd received their coffee they could go upstairs, before dad had to sit up waiting too long.

We all waited in the hall outside dad's bedroom while mum and Maya sorted chairs and prepared dad. Helloes were said and we all sat down around dad. Dad was more alert than he'd been in weeks. He'd made a special effort to take as little pain killers as possible to be able to be as clear headed as he could for when Louison would come. We were amazed.

Martijn got out the iPad that was used to film Louison's grading, and Louison showed dad. Dad watched carefully, evaluating whether Louison did well enough to earn his shodan:


"Well done," dad had said after watching bits of the 45 minutes of film. Yep, Louison had done it. Time to put a stamp in his aikido passport:



And to sign where the signature goes:



Martijn was asked to fill in the date:


And then it was official:


Here's yer black belt, Louison:







Galen, Sjoerd, Maya, mum, Martijn, Erik

"Nah, I want the black one!"

The black one.

I congratulated Louison, and gave him a present:



We had some fun after that. Dad showed Erik the lovely black-black-green hakama that Arjan had had made for dad. He explained that Arjan had found someone to make it for him, "He got a Turkish man, and trained him with a whip!" laughs all round... and then dad added with sudden, immense energy, "'Get it RIGHT!'"

After about three quarters of an hour it was time to go. Galen, Sjoerd, Maya, mum and I left the room to let Louison, Martijn and Erik say their good byes. After they left, dad kept his clarity and some of the energy he'd gathered from somewhere for a while. I brought some tea up to mum and dad, and Maya joined us as well. After dad's tea was finished, he talked a little with us. After a while dad realised he was actually rather tired. So we let him rest.

This was it then. The huge thing we've all been living towards with dad is finished... Now what?

Thursday, 2 February 2012


Nurse Helen was allowed to wash dad today. Maya and mum have been preparing dad: it can't always be mum or Maya, sometimes they need a break. "Don't I get a say in the matter?" dad had said. But Maya insisted it's very important to wash every day, so eventually dad accepted Helen's help.

Dad had some tea and toast with miso for lunch, and then also wanted miso soup which Maya went and made. Then dad had a rest until the doctor came for a visit. The doctor asked how everyone was doing, and gave dad some mistletoe injections which is supposed to help dad feel better. The doctor mentioned that all the mumbling dad's doing and the stories he's telling could be a way for his soul to deal with the things it needs to deal with. It might be slightly to very incomprehensible to us, but it's necessary for dad to go through this process. We should thus keep in mind that if we do give dad haloperidol if his hallucinations get unpleasant, we also take this process away from him.

Dad's niece Katherine (Matthew's youngest daughter) came to stay for a visit and to help around the house. Dad was pleased to see her, and we were all especially excited because she's brought English presents! (PG Tips! Yay!) But of course, even if there hadn't been any presents, it was nice to have Katherine over. There was a mini adventure for Katherine and Galen when Galen went to pick Katherine up from the airport... They'd taken the bus back, but they got out at the wrong stop, convinced the stop they needed didn't exit... and then Galen phoned me for further bus instructions and his phone battery died! Luckily, I had Katherine's number so I texted her instructions... but her phone was on silent! So they spent ages in the freezing cold wondering what to do... they did eventually get on the next bus and get off at a more logical stop... and an hour or so later they arrived home safely.

It's getting hard to understand dad. He mumbles a lot, and takes a long time to set his thoughts straight to be able to say something, or even to say the second half of a sentence. So anyone listening to him has to wait for a very long time... such a long time in fact, that often the listener even forgets what the first half of the sentence was, or what the conversation was about entirely. But dad also sometimes forgets. For instance when he wanted some tea this morning. Maya rushed down and got him some, and made some for mum and herself as well. She came back up with tea, and dad said "Ah ya can't get a cuppa tea round here can ya!" Dad has no idea I don't think that talks with him take so long. Maya was holding up a drink with a straw for dad, when he started mumbling about something or other. Maya patiently waited... and waited... and eventually asked, "Do you want the rest of this drink?" and dad replied with, "Gah, so impatient!"

Wednesday, 1 February 2012


Today was strange. Dad was exceptionally alert which was a complete contrast to last night... but he was also downright delirious. There were wrinkled dragons in the corner, little people on his shoulder... he also explained what he'd been busy with: he shot three films today, and they now need editing. The French interference was also a recurring topic. And apparently, dad is ready for what he's tried to do all week, because now he's qualified. Whatever that may mean.

In any case, dad was perfectly approachable, his replies were just slightly incomprehensible for the people outside of the World of Oxycodone.

Just in case, the doctor has prescribed some haloperidol (an antipsychotic) for if the hallucinations get frightening, or if dad becomes paranoid, suspicious or scared.

When mum played the sansula (a kind of karimba or kalimba, a thumb piano), dad stopped talking nonsense and really listened. Dad really enjoyed the sound.

Dad had a whole piece of toast today, and for dinner quite a couple of spoons full of chili con carne... and even a glass of red wine.