I am Esther, story addict and writer. I grew up in the Netherlands and since I was a little girl I’ve always been searching for stories. By reading, by listening, by writing, by experiencing things myself that automatically became a part of my own story. As a grown-up I started writing for magazines and websites. Stories about my parents, about people I met and about specific subjects. I liked doing it but I’ve always had the feeling that I should be doing something else. Until one sunny day in May 2016. I was developing a mobile app that helps family members of terminally ill people to have good and sometimes deep conversations with their loved one. I’ve had several conversations with people who knew they wouldn’t live long anymore and they were so impressive and intense to me. That day in May I visited Anna and her husband Bram. Anna was a 33 year old woman with a very rare type of cancer and only some months left. I haven’t met many people that loved and embraced life as much as she did. Her goal was to share stories and to accept life the way it comes. With her determination and her positive attitude she changed my vision on what is really important in life. From every person I spoke to I heard beautiful life stories, and I came to realize that there is so much I want to discover about my parents.
Now I live in the USA and my parents still live in the Netherlands, I miss them every day. My head and heart are full of memories of little precious moments, like the enthusiastic ‘smiling from ear to ear way’ my dad used to greet me when I walked into their backyard. Or how I —even when I was a grown-up— gently rubbed my face into my mom’s soft vest, knowing that she would lay her hand down on my face within a few seconds and give me the feeling that everything is okay. That I am okay the way I am. How she always painted her nails on Saturday night and how my dad made such weird pancakes for my birthday parties that they became an everlasting memory to the friends that are still my friends now. Memories that make me laugh and cry at the same time. Because I feel blessed. I carry my parents with me, everywhere. In memories and pictures and little videos. What I really miss are their stories. How my dad told me about the way he grew up with his 8 brothers and sisters. My mom’s story about how they met each other. In their words, their specific way of telling a story. And there are so many things they never told me. Simply because I never asked them about it.
One day, all the pieces of the puzzle came together: I want to use my creativity, my love for stories and making personal things, my interest in other people, my listening skills and my writing capacities to create beautiful family gifts. A book about a family member that made them who they are. So they can always keep them close and pass memories on to their children.