Monday, 5 January 2009

A Goodbye to a Good Man

The remaining quarter of 2008 passed by pretty fast, dont you think so? december's been pretty hectic for me and the last couple of weeks of december was an emotional one.

I prepared a few gifts for our closest friends for Christmas. some i managed to get them out, and some i didnt. i should really be much more organized next year.. but one special gift, and a special wish was specially for our next door neighbour, the de Vries.

Their house was so quiet since i was stuck indoors with the bug. i did notice that there was less action goin on, no cars going in and out. the blinds in their living room are all the time shut. we normally waive to John from the car or when coming home from ourwalks. but the shutters were down. John and Angelie havent been out walking as well. we havent waived nor have we been saying hellos to any of the de Vries for quite a while.

I have bought another 4 packets of lemongrass for John. knocked on their door but there wasnt an answer. i could sense that something was wrong. a couple of days just before christmas, Rob, their youngest son had told us that John was brought to Leuven Hospital for some complications almost a week ago. the same time i was down with my flu bug.

My spirits went stright down. i went all quiet.

As usual, every christmas eve, we'd always get something for them. we told Rob that we'd pass it for his next visit, which was suppose to be on christmas day. he said that John would want to rest that day (on the eve) and ask for the boys to come on christmas day. we heard them going out that night and didnt see them coming home till the next morning.

On Christmas morning, we woke up and checked if any of their cars are still at home. Hardy went quickly to their house to send the presents to the de Vries. Hardy came home with a numb and sad look on his face. he then broke the news to me gently.

Just after midninght, in the early mornings of Christmas day 25th of December 2008, our dear neighbour, our good friend John de Vries passed away.

I couldnt control my tears.

He was a good man. a very good man. he fought hard. the last month passed by so quickly. and the last time i was with John i remembered we were laughing and smiling. that's how i want to remember him, always. he had been incredibly nice to us. he had been more than welcoming to us. he was like a father figure and he'd always on the look out for us. i will always remember meeting him for the very first time. he was one of the reasons why we bought the house. John was one of the kindest, nicest, warmest, bravest man that i know. we love him dearly and we will miss him and his jokes so so much.

It must be hard on Angelie. i can only imagine how she's feeling. she's been such a rock since John's diagnosis. i honestly, trully admire her. she still smiles her normal smile. she still cares about other things. she's been so so strong throughout. she's unbelievable.

When you're new to a country, you'd want that sense of comfort. you'd want to be and feel safe, you'd want to have the right company, trustable people around you, you'd want to be welcomed. i felt every bit of that from John and his family. i feel so honoured to have gotten to know him.

I'm a very emotional person, and i dont take these kindda news too well sometimes. especially to those who have left such a big impact in my life. seeing his van next door is still difficult for me. Aidan calls out for John everytime he sees the van and everytime he calls for John, i'd cry. i'd have a lump in my throat everytime we mention him. he was such a good man.

Last couple of days, Angelie dropped by. and just before she left, she said something that will always make me smile, and smile even wider when i think of John. she said John loved us. loved us very much.

Here's to John, thank you so much, from the bottom of our hearts for your beautiful friendship, support and love. you've been nothing but wonderful to us. we will always remember the things you have said and stories you have shared with us. your stories, your jokes, your smile and our fond memories together will always be in our hearts. we will miss you.

I just didnt have the mood to blog since. i havent even been checking my emails. i wanted to put up a post wishing happy holidays to all but that and with some other news i needed to feel better first. I sincerely hope and pray that all of us will have a better year, filled with lots of happiness, joy, good, fun and fond memories and of course good health. thanks guys for reading. i'll upload some winter photos for us to smile soon! i'm off to get meself a box of tissues now and enjoy our white scenary form our window!


Kak Nisa said...

Hi Zaza dear...happy new year! Haven't been reading your blog for quiet some time now...hope all is well ya....sorry to hear about your neighbour...may god bless his soul! take care! Hugs

drNO said...

i am so sorry to hear that.
I am sure, he was a good man indeed, for all of you to have very fond memories of him...

farah said...

Kak Zaza,
Ur entry brings tears to my eyes...I'm sorry to hear about John's passing...even tho I didnt know him personally, but the way u described him in your blog, I am sure he was a very very wonderful wonder ur blog been quiet without updates...stay strong kak zaza but it's ok to shed some tears or two :)
Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Hi Za,

I was driven to tears reading this and I don't even know him. But I do know how precious it is to have someone you can count on when you're in a foreign country and so far away from family. I'd be heartbroken too. May his memories live on..

Take care.


Fion said...

sorry to hear about eyes was filling with tears when i read this post.
im sure that john will be watching over u all up there.
take care n nice to meet u..

Ranee said...

Sorry to hear about John.
Pse take care of yrself.

nina said...

hi zaza...
k nina check blog zaza hari2, but no update.. i can sense that something is happening.. not the good one la kan, else blog sudah update..
anyway, k nina sedih with u..
u take care ok..

Fion said...

hi zaza, thanks for droppin at my blog... n i hope everythin well for u n ur family too in the year 2009 and coming yr... (btw, "sa zi" means moron in chinese.. n dats my bf!! :D we used to call each others name jus for fun!)


emly2175 said...

Sorry to hear about this news ... It was fate that your life crossed with them..Hope u will be strong dear!

shasha_zamlis said...

hi za,
sori 2 hear about john. u r so lucky to have frens like him and his family n i'm sure he feels the same way too. take care....
love, kak shasha

eijoola said...

Zaza... I am sad myself when I read this post. He is a wonderful man. Be strong ok!? Can't wait for everything to settle down in London so we can make plans to visit you guys.

mº¿ºsh, brecht and nora said...

Dear zaza, hardy & aidan
our deepest condonlences to you for loosing such a meaningful friend & neighbour. Our deepest sympathies to, for the ones he has left behind esp his darling wife.
I hope your spirits will rise again Z. Our sincere thanks for that wonderful & beautifully made Xmas card.
Warmest regards from Belgium
Mush, Brecht & Nora Hortensius

Anonymous said...

hi za, i'm really sorry to hear abt john. no wonder you have been keeping extremely quite these few days. john must have been a very special person. people say a person comes into your life for a reason, and john was there to help you making NL your home. you are blessed to have good people in your life. i hope you're well..and may this new year brings you happiness and crafts :). Hugs, yayaH.

Heavenly Gift said...

Dear Zaza,

My sincere condolence to you and i am envious of you to be able to meet someone as wonderful as him.
Be strong Zaza and he knows that both of you love him very much.


Sab@Nina said...

Dear Zaza, Hardy & Aidan

Happy New Year! Sorry to hear about the Passing of your neighbour.

Thanks a lot of the gifts you sent the kids. Aemir's already worn his Mr Happy baju several times....Ameera's growing into hers very fast.

Take care
Hugs to Aidan....he's soooo BIG!!!

makcik ryan yg lapar said...

hi kak za..
Oh my..i nearly cried reading this entry..terus tingat kat ayah n tok ne' strong k..hope John will rest in peace n at least he wun suffer anymore..kan?miss u guys..cpt la blk mesia..kate nk mkn kat groupbase!!!xoxo

Laracroft74 said...

i understand how you feel zaza...i've just lost my grandpa too a few days before christmas ...i know it must be really really heartbreaking... may god bless John's soul and may he rest in peace... I'm sure John doesnt like to see you looking very sad like how i could feel when reading your post... please bring back the cheerful side of Zaza and i'm sure John will be very happy too...take care dear...