The truth about our relationship
I loved her as my mother but I never learned to love her for who she really was.
The way my father treated her had a great impact on me growing up. I watched him arguing with her, handling her with disrespect, and owning her as his wife the way married women were looked upon in those days, the 1960ties of the former century.
She was a child of the Emerald as Indonesia was called, a beautiful spirit but restricted by her father when he came back from the Japanese war camps and later by her husband who acted like a dictator in their marriage, his want was law.
My mother died in 2000. I was there when she passed away in her bed minutes before I watched her deliriously from the morphine grasping with both hands in the air as if she was seeing something, or someone and wanted to be there, make it her own.
Before she was gone she asked for my forgiveness and I gave it to her, knowing immediately what it was she was referring to.
She was sorry she never loved me! That’s what she meant.
Because that was the truth of our complex relationship all those years. She never loved her firstborn child. Me.
I have always known in the back of my head, I have always felt that there was something essential missing in our relationship. Then and there I knew what it was. It broke my heart and mended it at the same time.
Why did she not love me? Why was she incapable of loving her firstborn? That’s what I had to find out, that was my quest.
Of course, it must have had something to do with her past being in a Japanese concentration camp at the end of World War 2 in Indonesia, where she was born. She took that war trauma back to the Netherlands as an 11-year-old child facing a new life in a different country.
Or was it her complex relationship with my father who was dominant and overbearing at best, who raped her during the interlude between their engagement when they were apart for a few months? He forced himself upon her and that was the start of my birth as their firstborn. She told me years later.
It also must have had something to do with her younger brother who was a soldier in West Guinee during her pregnancy and was coming home, only to have been blown to bits on a land mine on his way back.
All that trauma must have been so overwhelming on a beautiful Indo-European woman back in 1961 that it overshadowed the joy of becoming a mother.
We never got a chance!