Friday, April 20, 2007


Back in 2000, I created a Hotmail account with my surname. I received the message that this combination was already taken.
My surname is not a very common one so I was surprised to find another Roelfsema with the initial “I”
I wrote this person a letter (in English, you never know where someone lives) and received a wonderful letter in return form a 25 year old KLM Stewardess from Holland, called Ineke.

Ever since, we exchanged numerous e-mails and met several times. She became a very loyal friend, a very close relative although we do not share the same ancestors.

When I was diagnosed with Cancer, she wrote in an e-mail: “Ike, the coward Cancer doesn’t know yet, but he messes with the wrong person!!” This became my Mantra and it has been my e-mail signature during all the (successful) treatments.

Half a year ago, not long after she met the man of her dreams, Ineke was diagnosed with Skin Cancer, a little spot at her back. They removed the Cancer and found it as well in the Sentinel (gate-keeper) lymph node. All lymph nodes got removed and there was no Cancer found in those. This was very hopeful.

Though a few weeks ago, Ineke got very painful ribs and X-rays showed “hot spots” and yesterday the MRI scan confirmed it was Cancer.
She told me this in an e-mail, which I received half an hour ago. Her Cancer cannot be treated. She does not even get the chance to fight. Ineke, who feels like being in a nightmare, has now the difficult task to change the direction of her life. She and her partner, have now to find a way to create a new life, a very short life, together.
Both families now know, they have to get on without this very special woman. There is no life expectance. Maybe a few months, maybe a year. No one can predict this, Ineke’s Cancer is aggressive.

I can’t accept yet that where I survived my Cancer, Ineke is going to lose the battle.
I was just copying a quote I found on the Internet to my Skype Mood Message when Ineke’s e-mail arrived.
The quote says: “Life is like the seasons, spring always follows winter.” This quote is how I live and experience my life. That is why I felt attracted to it.
All of a sudden this quote got a totally different meaning. Yes, Spring follows Winter. I still believe that. Though my first thought was “There will not be a Spring after Ineke’s Winter. Inekes suffering will become very dark and difficult at the end. Spring follows when the suffering ends, but only for Ineke at that very moment.

For her partner and her family it will take a long time before the flowers bloom again.
Eventually all memories of Ineke will cause a Spring again. She is a beautiful person and these memories of her will bring the sun back to those who love her so much.
Ineke is still a fighter, she fights for a special last stage of her life. She will try to keep the Spring alive as long as possible.

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