The Motherless Daughters Club: And now I’ll always carry her with me

Ever since Mama passed away I’ve been looking for some way to keep her with me, besides just carrying her memories in my heart. Sometimes the memories aren’t enough to keep me going and I feel as if I need something more physical, something I can hold, wear or carry with me. The past 4 years I’ve just been looking around for mourning jewellery, but I couldn’t find anything that made me want to even consider using her hair or ashes for. My taste is a bit specific and I couldn’t quite figure it out.

You can do the craziest things with remains nowadays, from planting them into a tree, to turning ashes into diamonds!! Not only did I find it hard to find something I found beautiful according to my own taste, but also something that would suit her. I feel as if a lot of jewellery nowadays has lost the charm it once had. I can’t even remember the last time I spent money on jewellery to be honest! Anyways, I toyed with the idea of getting her ashes turned into a diamond for a while, but being a student, I simply don’t have the budget for it unfortunately.

But as time goes on, I felt as if I needed something like it, maybe I’ve just reached that stage of grieving where you just want something to cling onto. I can’t even remember how many times I’ve held and sniffed a shirt of hers, just because it still smells of her. I decided to go on the internet for some inspiration and quickly found the cheaper option of mourning jewellery. That option being lockets.

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It is probably the biggest and heaviest pendant I have ever had but it is just so beautiful

I’ve been crazy about lockets since I was little. I remember by sister and I giving Mama a silver locket with our pictures in it for Mother’s Day. I had one myself as well, with a picture of my childhood best friend in it. The idea of a pendant in which you can carry something I find amazing. But it would have to be something fitting.

I went on Etsy, as I often do, since Etsy is THE place to find interesting pieces, from garments to jewellery. I scoured through pages and pages of antique Victorian jewellery, so many lovely pieces, but I just couldn’t find it. Until one evening, while video chatting with my love and looking through Etsy once again, I stumbled upon this big, pinchbeck locket with floral patterns engraved into it. Despite its size, it had such an intricate feel to it. I don’t know what it was, but I was instantly drawn to it. However, at the time I couldn’t afford it, so I did put it on my wishlist, but wasn’t expecting to be able to get it. Such a beautiful Victorian piece wouldn’t be for sale long, would it?

Well, two weeks ago I decided to go check anyways and would you guess it? It was still up! After a bit of hesitation I decided to splurge and today it came into the mail! I opened my package and when I first laid my eyes upon it, it just felt right. It’s weird to describe, I was just overwhelmed with emotions. I found an old passport picture of her in my wallet, which I have put in now, but I know she would hate it. So I’ll keep it in there until I have found a better one. I’ll be flying to the Netherlands on Wednesday, so maybe my grandparents will have a better one lying around.

 


It was important to me that it was a piece of jewellery that I would love, but also something that would suit my mother. I’d say that I succeeded. My mother and I both love nature and feel a close connection to it. The engraving was something I instantly gravitated towards.

I bought the locket at this lovely shop called ”Vintage at Mums” on Etsy. The woman who runs it, Tracy, has an amazing collection of stunning antique pieces, which are definitely worth checking out! I know I’ll be wearing my locket with pride and even though I’ve only had it so shortly, it is already my favourite piece.

Do any of you out there have mourning jewellery, and if you do, what made you pick the pieces that you have?

I’d love to hear your stories!

– Naiyee

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My North Star

Last week my love and I had our one year anniversary and what a year it has been. He came into my life at the most unexpected time, but I couldn’t be happier that he did. Unfortunately we are not together right now, but in two weeks we will be, since we will be visiting my family in the Netherlands for Easter!

He and I had been friends for years and he decided to come over to Denmark from Finland to meet up in real life. I was still in a relationship at the time, but the chemistry was there from the start. We hit it off right away and had a blast. Shortly after he left, my then-boyfriend broke up with me and we decided to give it a go.

”We’ll take it slow” we said, but very soon after having said that we were sure that we were right for each other. We pretty soon talked about the more serious topics, marriage, kids, careers and all of that. Weirdly enough we agreed on everything. I felt funny about it at first. I don’t know how to describe the feeling, but talking to him calmed the constant chaos inside of me. I have always struggled with feeling grounded and in a way I still do. But just a simple phone call or a text of him reassuring me it’ll all work out seems to make all of the problems I have so insignificant as long as he was there.

I promised myself I wouldn’t put myself through the hassle of a long distance relationship again, but the heart wants what it wants. I booked a plane ticket to Finland to see him and meet his family and we grew even closer. Not just us, but I also instantly connected to his family. It all felt so natural. I found myself often wondering if it all wasn’t just too good to be true, but I guess this is just what it feels like to have hit the jackpot.

I don’t have a penny to my name, a small family far away, just the clothes on my back, a handful of friends and my precious pooch, but I can’t recall the last time I felt this happy. I’m thoroughly convinced it’s because I have found him and reconnected with my own family too. I feel as if I’m a tiny little boat in this big ocean, but as long as I’ve got my north star, I’ll eventually find my way back home.

Like Gordon B. Hinckley once said

”Love is like the North Star,
In a changing world, it’s always constant”

My love always tells me that everything will work out and I used to struggle to believe that. Because how can everything work out? Does it truly do that? But he has taught me that sometimes, it is okay to let go of the things I cannot control. And that is a scary, but comforting thought.

It feels like meeting him and his family too, has given my heart the capability to give love back a thousandfold. And for that I am grateful. Not just for them being in my life, but he as also taught me to appreciate my own family a whole lot more.

He is my north star and I feel grateful to have found him when I did. It has only been a year, but I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Have any of you out there found your north star? I would love to hear your stories.

– Naiyee

Here’s to strong women

I grew up being raised by a single mom. My mom had been chronically ill for as long as I can remember and she managed to raise my sister and I all alone. My parents divorced when I was about six years old and it’s all I have ever known. My mom never spoke much about it, except that it happened after my father admitted to having a family with another woman. That woman ended up becoming my stepmother and yet another example of a strong woman in my life. My stepmom has two kids with my dad, my half sister and half brother. My half brother has special needs and it has always baffled me how well my stepmom dealt with all of it by herself. My dad wasn’t around much, so it was always the mother figures in my life picking up the pieces when something broke.

With that being said, I also grew up without much of a father figure in my life. My father first became an active part of my life after my mother passed away, but during my childhood it was always my Opa who showed me what a good father is like. For the longest time, and maybe still, I thought that good father figures were a rare thing to have. Many of my childhood friends had divorced parents with the dads often being absent or a passive part of their lives, only coming and going as it fit their schedule.

But thanks to my Opa and my mother figures I did not miss out on anything. When my mother passed away, someone else crossed my path. The woman I now consider to be my bonus mom and probably the strongest woman I have ever had the privilege of knowing. She is a breast cancer survivor and kept her family afloat when everything seemed to be falling apart. Not only that, but I believe she saved my family from falling apart too. She has had her heart broken many times, but like a phoenix, she rose up from the ashes, stronger than before. A woman I look up to, that’s for sure.

But as time went on, this little girl I’ve known since the moment she grew in my mother’s womb, my best little friend, my partner in crime, my younger sister now too grew into a woman with the heart of a warrior. Despite all the odds stacked up against her, she fought, pulled through and survived. I couldn’t be prouder to be her sister. I love her so much. But it’s not just her, but obviously also my half-sister. She also has had her fair share of hardships to deal with at a very young age and it has made her into a fierce, strong and amazing young woman. I love seeing how well she does, and it saddens me that I don’t get to see her as often as we used to.

I could never forget to write about my grandmother, my Oma here, even though I had not mentioned her earlier. While growing up I saw my mother and Oma fight a lot and I was never really able to understand why. But now that I am older, I do. Oma has a heart of gold and wears it on her sleeve. She is one of the most honest people I have ever known and I try to adopt her honesty, albeit it maybe with a little bit more filter.. 😉

Last year two special women in particular came into my life. My mother and sister in law, both extraordinary women. They’ve both fought their battles and stayed SO kind and strong despite all of it. And I admire and adore them for it. In a world so cruel kinder people are needed. I truly believe that it’s people like them, that make this world a better place to live in. I’d like to be kinder, just like they are.

It’s the influence of these lovely ladies (and those are just a few, I have so many amazing girlfriends as well but it would make this post even loooonger!), that I’m still here today. I couldn’t have gotten this far without their love and support.

Here’s to strong women, may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them!

Do you have strong women in your life?
I’d love to hear more about them!

-Naiyee

Your home should tell the story of who you are and be a collection of what you love.

Sorry I didn’t write on here sooner, but it has been a busy couple of days I guess! With a math midterm and reading up on some of the things I’ve missed while I was away to see my family and trying to get enough sleep in, it was hard for me to find a moment to just sit down and write. Today was nice and quiet, so here I am!

On Monday I came back from a lovely couple of days in the Netherlands that I’ve spent with my family and love. In a previous post I wrote about how hard it is for me to go back and how the days leading up to it always end up being incredibly anxiety inducing for me. However, whenever I’m there, it feels like coming home, truly. We spent most of the time at my sister’s, as she lives close to Schiphol Airport and the rest of Amsterdam and since my boyfriend has never been in the Netherlands before, I thought it’d be a great opportunity to be a tourist in my own country and show him around a bit. We had a blast. Amsterdam really is a special place.

We also celebrated my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary, which took place in my hometown, so we decided to also spend a night at their place, so I could show him where I’m from and where I grew up. This idea in particular scared me at first, as I’ve only gone back there two or three times ever since my mother passed away. But I felt like it was the right thing to do. I showed him the houses I grew up in, the schools I went to, my poem that ended up winning a competition and actually ended up being put down in tiles on this big square in my neighbourhood and lots of other things. It was quite something.

It was special to me, because to me it felt as if I was walking through a photo book as I was reminiscing all of these memories. But it also made me think.. I realised that for the most part of my adult life, I’ve been running away from my old life back in the Netherlands, just trying to get ahead and create something new. Ever since I’ve moved to Denmark, I’ve been doing something. Be it learning the language, getting to know new people, getting a job or studying, I have always made sure to do something, so I wouldn’t have to doubt anything or be sad about the life I no longer have.. This trip however made me feel weird inside. I felt homesick, truly homesick for the first time in well… ever? It was just eyeopening how the conversations I had with my grandparents, father, sister and other family members made me feel less empty in a way. I wouldn’t say I’m this super unhappy person in general, but my struggle with depression makes me feel very empty inside. But whenever I’m with them, the feeling disappears. I know the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, it never is actually, but it does make me wonder whether I’d be happier over there or not.

For shits and giggles I actually decided to sign up for a bachelors degree in Biology and Medical Research over there and see if I get in. I want to give myself a year to figure out if I’ll feel better and if my situation will change, but if not, I might just go back home. That would also mean that I’d have to give up my dream of getting into vet school and I’m not quite sure if I’m ready for that yet, so we will see. The idea of researching a cure for cancer, especially since my mom died from it and I know a lot of people who have been sick from it, sounds like a very exciting thing to do. But at this point it’s still all out in the open. I guess that’s the fun thing about life, the uncertainty of it all.

I just find it funny how this trip opened up a whole new can of worms for me. I didn’t expect to end up not feeling like going back to Denmark, but luckily for me I have a lot of kind people over here as well. In the end, home isn’t really a place for me. It’s the people that fill up that space. It could be at the other side of the world, but as long as they’ll be there, I would be okay. It would be home.

Where do you guys feel at home?

I would love to hear about it!

– Naiyee

Hearts are wild creatures, that’s why our ribs are cages..

So this week I’m up to something pretty big! I’ll be going back to the Netherlands for the first time in over a year to celebrate my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary. It always ends up being pretty awesome whenever I’m down there to visit family, but the time leading up to those trips are always pretty stressful for me.

For those of you that don’t know me that well, my mother passed away only a couple of months after I moved to Denmark in 2014 and basically right after I moved here, I had to go back to be there with her. The weeks leading up to it was grueling, because she was very sick, and I knew that nothing would be the same way as I left it. But then she passed away and suddenly it felt as if my home was taken away from me. Even though I still have all of my family and friends over there, it feels as if I no longer belong. Part of me is probably also just nervous about receiving bad news again, the same way as it did back in 2014. Now I know that that is absolutely irrational and I have nothing to worry about, but still. Going back is hard for me, because it’s a constant reminder of the life I once had. A life I once took for granted. My friends moved away, our dogs have been adopted, my entire family lives in different parts spread out over the country and well.. the house I grew up in is no longer ours.

I remember walking around my hometown last year with my Opa and my sister and even though everything looked the same, the feeling was gone. It was like a familiar painting, but without the warm colours..

Whenever I do go down there to see everyone, it feels like a warm bath. It’s lovely to be surrounded by my family and friends and sometimes I really do wonder if moving abroad was the right decision, but then I look at how much I have grown and the little life I’ve established here and it made me realise that I did something right. But there are moments where I really hate being so far away from everyone I love. It makes me wish that sometimes I wasn’t so adventurous and found contentment in a simpler life, closer to the ones I love. But then I think about a quote my mom once sent me:

”Hearts are wild creatures, that’s why our ribs are cages”.

I see where she was getting at.. I used to ALWAYS follow my head and play it safe, but it also made me very unhappy. The one moment I decided to follow my heart was the decision to move countries, something lots of people in my direct circle never expected of someone like me. But I still try to protect my heart from things that may hurt it, so I keep it tucked deep within me, within my ribs. Isolating myself is a bad coping mechanism I’ve created over the years and I am not very proud of it, but it has always worked. Now that I live so far away from my loved ones it’s even easier, although I try not to. Staying away from the place that confronts me; my own bloody home, is easy, but it’s not a solution. It’s bittersweet really, because this longing for being with my family comes with this fear, this sense of anxiety of returning to my home, because of the events that have occurred there 4 years ago, not even to mention that this month marks the fourth year since my mother has passed.

So in a way, this upcoming trip has given me a lot of sleepless nights too. I procrastinated booking my flight and letting my family know if I’d be there, because of this tug-of-war in my head. However, I knew I couldn’t stay away. This is a milestone in my grandparents’ lives and they had already considered holding it off, since my mother couldn’t be there too. And I can relate to this feeling, because I’ve been there too. I didn’t want to marry or have kids if she wouldn’t be there to experience it, but in the end, life doesn’t stop because her life ended. So I’m proud of my grandparents for deciding that they’d celebrate anyway. I couldn’t say no when they asked me if I’d come too, knowing that they’d already have one empty chair at that table. I didn’t want them to have to look at yet another empty chair at that dining table. And I’m happy that I get to see them again. Spending time with them is fun. They’re amazing people and I am so grateful to still have them.

Life is strange. It’s incredible how much impact the loss of ONE person can have on so many lives. My mother’s death may have caused us to be far apart from one another, but our bond is closer than ever. I only get to spend 4 days in the Netherlands, not very long, but my loss also taught me to cherish those moments, as big or as little as they may seem.

As my favourite Disney character once said:

”This is my family. It’s little and broken, but still good.
Yeah, still good”

To all of you reading this,

Hug your loved ones a little tighter today. You never for how much longer you’ll have them..

– Naiyee

Evolving

Holy cow, it’s been months since I’ve last written anything on here! But I have reasons, trust me!

During my exam period my grandparents and sister came to visit me here in Denmark, which was amazing. I didn’t do too well with my exam in Danish, however my History exam I totally aced. It went so well, and to be honest, it was a huge confidence booster. After my exams were done, I went to Roskilde Festival for some much needed concerts and hanging out with friends. Those past months had been tough on me, so I needed a break. But not just a break from school. I wanted to get away. So I went to Finland again.

There is a reason I go to Finland so frequently though.. My relationship ended quite abruptly, but there are no hard feelings between us at all. We still care about each other deeply and are still the best of friends. We decided to stay roommates and that works pretty darn good, I’d say! But yes, back to why I visit Finland often. After my ex and I broke up I got together with someone who I’ve known for years and who has always had my back through things, despite living so far away. He came to visit Denmark when we were still friends and something happened between us that I still can’t quite put my finger on. However, when he left our friendship grew into something more and I decided to jump into the deep end and visit him. That first trip confirmed it for me that I made the right choice. He is my twin flame in a way. I went back to finish my exams, go to the festival etc. but I knew I couldn’t go without seeing him for months again, so I booked a plane ticket to go see him again in July. This trip was different. He was working a lot, but it gave me a good opportunity to bond with his family and bonding we did alright. His mom and I especially hit it off really well and I kept in touch with his sister quite a lot, who was working abroad at the time. Leaving back to Denmark was tough. Mainly because I now felt as if I gained another family and more people I care really deeply about. I have never really connected to a significant other’s family in that way and because his family was so similar to mine, it felt like I came home. And I didn’t want to leave. But soon after he came to visit me here in Denmark, we rented an Airbnb and it was awesome. But I missed Finland. So last week I took the plane up north again and it was like coming home again. I loved every moment of it, and I look forward to going back. In two weeks he’ll be coming to the Netherlands with me to meet my family, and I am beyond excited to show him where I grew up.

This year has been crazy so far. I’ve gotten out of a long and committed relationship and started something new without knowing what’s ahead of me, I turned 24, started studying, and the year isn’t even over yet. So far it has been fantastic.

The funny thing is though, that ever since my mom died, I’ve been a bit of a controlfreak. I’d obsess over my exercise, my diet, my relationship and it was around New Years Eve last year that I decided to let go and see what happens. And as soon as I let go, good things started happening. It might be coincidental, but for me it really showed that going with the flow is a good thing. I’m kind of proud of myself in a way, because of how far I’ve come.

But that was it for now. I’ll write a bit more about my trip to Finland later this week.

If there’s anybody out there reading this right now..

Thank you for your time. It really means a lot.

– Nen

It’s been a while

Whoa, it’s been a while since I’ve last written something on here. It has multiple reasons, which I might write about at some point in the future. Since the death of Hayley, my life has been a rollercoaster in terms of mental health, relationship and school. Let’s just say some big changes have occurred.

So as I’m sitting here in an empty classroom, I started thinking. My mind has been doing it a lot lately, to the point where I’d be lucky if I get 4 hours of sleep a night. Today, on May 4th, my mom would’ve turned 45. It’s still an insane idea to me that she was so young when she passed away. I’ve been holding up fine so far, but I can sense the big black wolf that is depression looming over my shoulder. I honestly don’t even know if I can manage to stay concentrated, or even make it through the day at school today, which would suck, considering I already missed 2 days this week, but at least this is a valid reason. At least I’ve tried if I end up breaking down, right? 🙂

My exams are rolling around, and in 2 weeks classes will officially be over. I decided to be selfish and go away to Finland for a week, because I’ve been feeling very stressed. I need a break, and I think it’ll be good for me. I also found out that the school I’m currently attending doesn’t offer all of the courses I’d need to get into vet school, so I decided to meet up with a counselor at a new school, closer to where I live, which would make things a lot easier if I end up getting in. I’d still be graduating around the same time as at my current school, so it’s no big deal really. Usually I’d be anxious about my exams coming up. I have crippling exam anxiety, but I’ve been pretty numb to it, probably because of all of the changes going on in my life as of lately. Let’s just say I’m happy that I have a great therapist, because otherwise I don’t think I could’ve made it through.

Funnily enough though, I’m quite happy, despite the uncertainties in my life at this point. Life is this weird, fragile and exciting thing. I used to just be living, waiting for the end to happen, but lately I’ve been looking forward to the things yet to come.

Today is just a bad day, but it’s not a bad life. Not at all.

– Nen