Chlorophytum comosum is a well known houseplant. The common name for this plant is spider plant, but is also known as airplane plant, St. Bernard’s lily, spider ivy or ribbon plant. In Dutch the plant is known as “Zebragras” or “Graslelie”.

It wants a light place, but preferably not too much direct sunlight. Apart from that it is an easy plant to grow. Regularly water and once per month a little fertilizer is all that is needed.

The plant is also known for it air-filtering capacities and for these reason NASA is interested in this plant.

So why an article on this weblog about this rather common houseplant?

Well, during the last years of mothers life, she had a “Zebragras” plant in her house. A nice big and healthy plant.

When my mother was taken in to a home because her health didn’t allow it to live on her own any more, the house where she use to live needed to be cleaned and everything removed from it.
Among other things, I took the “Zebragras”-plant with me to my home.

Since then, this plant was standing in my living room, growing strongly.
That is until summer this year. I noticed the plant stopped growing and clearly the heath was getting weak. I realized that this plant was slowly dying and nothing would stop that.

Luckily, many plants have a special way to multiply: Rooting plant cuttings. Basically this means you take a healthy sprig of a plant and put it in a glass of water. If everything goes well after some time the sprig will start to develop roots. When there enough strong roots the sprig can be placed in potting soil and with a little luck the sprig will start to grow.

Even more luckily is that rooting from cuttings is mostly successful for the “Zebragras” plant.

So some weeks before our holiday to Greece, I took the two most healthy sprigs from my mothers plant and placed them in water. Already after a week the first roots started to grow. One week before we left for Greece, I placed the two sprigs in potting soil.
3 Weeks later on our return the sprig had started to grow and formed new leaves.

I waited two more weeks and the sprigs had grown into strong healthy young plants. The plant I had taken the sprigs from was really almost dead. And the time was there to replace the old plant with the young strong sprigs.

I am happy that I could save the “Zebragras” plant that once belonged to my mother this way and that there is now a strong and healthy plant again, as can be seen on the photo at the top of this article.

The white ceramic pillar and pot on the photo belonged to my parents and was given by my brother, my sister and me to them for their 25th wedding anniversary. The “old plant” was also placed in this plant pot.

Happy that it worked out this way!

1 comment to this article, press "Continue Reading" to view it or to add a commment.

Last evening I had a long talk with Sanne. Sanne is a long time friend of Marion and me (I know her as long I know Marion, but Marion and she even went together to school).

Somehow the subject of the conversation turned to my mother (if I remember correctly the upcoming birthday of Sanne’s mother was the reason for this). As you may know my mother passed away in 2011. Anyway, Sanne reminded me of what she once told me about my mothers passing away. She suggested me that I should write it down….. and so I will: Here on my blog, because this something anyone may read.

I accepted in 2008 a new job in Hoofddorp. Hoofddorp is, more or less, on the other side of the country as Haaksbergen, the town where I was living at that time and the town where I grew up. During the working week I rented in room in Amsterdam and in the weekends I mostly travelled back to Haaksbergen.
After a year working in Hoofddorp I got my permanent contract there and so the time had arrived to look for a place to live more close to Hoofddorp (there were some circumstances that enforced this also, but those are not important for what I want to tell here).

In 2010 I rented an apartment in Heemskerk, which belonged to a colleague who just bought another apartment for himself. For a bit more as a year I lived there quite happily and so I decided that I wanted to buy it.

My colleague and I agreed on a price for the apartment and with the very welcome help of Marion’s father a mortgage was arranged. Last thing that was left to do was letting a notary confirm the sale of the apartment to me. So a notary was contacted and an appointment needed to be set up.

It was close to April and one of the days available for this appointment was April 11th. Now 11th of April was the birthday of my father, who sadly passed already many years ago away from us. But I thought my mother would like the idea of signing the contract that will make me the owner of the apartment on that day to honour my father. And I was right, my mother loved this idea.

Sadly things went badly, just before the 11th of my mother passed away. So the strange situation of deep sadness of the funeral on Friday April 8th and the joy of owning a apartments on Monday 11th April was very confusion for me. My feelings were very contradicting: I felt sad because of losing my mother and happy at the same time for the new apartment.

Sanne told me at that time something that gave me some peace of mind.

As she said, finally I really settled down. My brother and sister were both married, a house, children, so are already settled down for quite some time.
But I, the youngest of the family, not completely yet. Sure, I found a wonderful lady to share my life with. I got an very nice job. But I was still moving between Haaksbergen, Amsterdam and Hoofddorp all time and still without a place to really call home.

With buying the apartment in Heemskerk, I also settled down: An awesome person to share my life with, a good job to pay the bills and to do fun things from and place to call my own.

And so said Sanne, my mothers work was finally down now the last of her children found stability and balance in his life. Time for her to let go and so she did. Many wondered how my mother with her very fragile health was able to hold on for so long. Maybe we have the reason here.

Sanne commented on what she said herself that maybe it is not true, but it might bring some comfort and she was very right with that! It still does…

1 comment to this article, press "Continue Reading" to view it or to add a commment.

And life goes on… Memories…

by Rob on

The funeral of my mother is already two days ago. It is kinda weird, but it seems that life it picking itself up again. Of course thoughts are still very often with her, but the normal everyday things started to be addressed again.

The funeral itself went exactly the way it was planned. It was not very crowded, but that is the way it was meant to be and more or less after the wish of my mother.
There was a lot of symbolism during the funeral, this done in a very pleasant way so everyone could use it in his or her own way, no matter religion or beliefs.

Personally I liked it that it was not a Catholic funeral. So no service in a church, no incense, no mortuary cards (or “bidprentjes” as the are called in Dutch. Some folks even collect those!). This after the wish of my mother. Specially in the last part of her life she felt very distant from the Catholic church.

During the funeral the sun was shining brightly. That added to the feeling that all was good this way.

After the funeral we brought the flowers to the place where now 14 years ago the ashes of my father were scattered. In 6 weeks the ashes of my mother will be scattered on the same place. Even with my strong believe in that there is not something as an afterlife, this feels good to me.

In my living room I have two display cases. One filled with things that are precious to me. The golden watch of my father was already in there. Now the watch of my mother is now laying beside the one of my father. This was the only thing that I really liked to have and my brother arranged that its now in my possession.

It is only logical that by all the thoughts, conversations you have, things you see and touch that many stories come up again. And one still makes me grin…

I remember that my mother had to stay at the hospital in the city of Enschede because her heart was giving her problems again.
I visited her as often as I could. And during one of my visit I bought this little pot with a nice looking snowdrop (or “Sneeuwklokje” as they are called in Dutch). My mother really liked and was happy with it.

Many visits later I walked in and noticed how my mother poured a little water from a glass into the pot with the snowdrop. I asked her what she was doing and she answered that she was giving the snowdrop some water as she did every day. She proudly remarked that the little plant was still looking so very healthy and that it was still blooming…

With a big grin on my face I said to my mother: “Yes mom, it is still looking very well…. but.. erhmm… mom… It is fake, the snowdrop is made of plastics and fabrics!!!” I will never forget the expression on my mothers face….

The little “fake” snowdrop is now standing on a bookcase in my house.

Lets remember the good things and nice memories. Only those are important!

Note: On the articles concerning the passing away of my mother I turned off the possibility to add comments to the article. If you want to say something, please write me a mail. Thanks.

No comments to this article yet. Press "Continue Reading" to add a comment.

After a very long period of suffering with her health my dear mother passed yesterday away… We knew that this sad day would arrive and now that it is here it brings a lot of sadness for us.

Last Friday my sister in law was called by the home where my mother stayed that the health problems of my mother were turning worse. So we, her children, made plans to visit her on very short turn.
During the night from Friday to Saturday my mobile phone went off. And even with sleep still having its grip on me, I knew what this would be about….. the situation of my mother even turned more bad or worse. When I heard the voice of my brother I already realized that our mother was no longer with us.

Luckily it seems that my mother passed away during her sleep, so there was no struggle and pain there. I was told that her face was very peaceful (I don’t want to see her after she left us. I want to keep her in mind as she was alive).

As said, my mother’s health was facing many problems. And it is amazing, close to unbelievable, how long she managed to handle these matters (at times just ignoring them) and stayed with us. I am convinced that her clear mind and strong spirit, combined with her everlasting optimism, was the main reason for this.
Only in the last period of her life it seemed that she lost a bit her grip on things and facts, but I surely hope I will have strength of mind whenever I will reach her age.

Sanne made the remark that finally my mothers work was done and now she could rest. Her oldest son and daughter already found their steady spot in life, meaning in relationship and a place to call home. Only her youngest one (being me) was not completely set yet. Someone special to share my life with I already had found, but only a place to call home was an uncertain matter yet…. but recently that changed. All is now arranged to buy the apartment where I am living now. So Sanne said, now my mothers work was completed. All her children found a place to call home and be happy.
I don’t know if this true, but at least it is very nice thought.

Reading over this article, it shows not really the things that I wanted to say. But for now I have not really the words I think. Time will bring those words. For now this is good.

When I decided to write this article on my blog I didn’t want to post a link to it on Facebook as I usually do. But after a dear friend wrote some very comforting words on my Wall there and Marion said that Facebook is not only about fun things…. it is about life, so also about the sad things that belong to it. So that is why I posted there the link to this article.

Even though I as person do not believe in things as an afterlife, I hope for my mother there is an better place where she can now enjoy an existence without the pains and problems here body gave here during her life…

“Ma, we zullen je heel erg missen….”


(Credit photo: Rob)

No comments to this article yet. Press "Continue Reading" to add a comment.

Last Friday, after work, I travelled towards the town of Oldenzaal. I took the afternoon off, so I would arrive in time.

Main goal of this trip was to visit my mother, who stays in a home in Haaksbergen. As I wrote already before here on my blog, I am very worried about my mothers health. Lately her health is getting weaker and weaker again. Even this week there was more bad news as now turned out my mother has also problems with her coronary.

I care a lot about my mother and I love to visit her, but these visit take a lot of energy and cause a lot of emotions. That is why I try to combine these visits with some things enjoyable. Now don’t get me wrong, the visits to my mother are fun too, but as said they take a lot of me because my mother is so precious to me.

So it has been some time that i saw my friend Patrick. I dropped him a mail if I would be welcome at his place for the Friday evening. A reply arrived soon telling me that I was and at the same time I got an invitation to come that evening along to “Twente Ballooning”.

Twente Ballooning is a yearly returning event about air-balloons and is one of the most spectacular events on this subject we have over here in The Netherlands.

So around 6 o’clock Friday afternoon I arrived in the town of Oldenzaal. Patrick was already waiting at the station. It was good to see him again. At his home we ate with his two sons a pizza (pizza is always good :P).

As a little miracle the weather turned after days with lost of heavy rain to an enjoyable temperature and the sky was almost free of clouds..

The event itself was great. We wandered around and looked at the balloons that were showed there. The ones with special designs were awesome to see. But also the many stalls were fun to watch.

Around 10 o’clock there was this special event they called “Nightglow”. An awesome show around some air-balloons with special light effects and wonderful fireworks. I truly enjoyed to watch this. I really prefer this kind of organized fireworks as the fireworks people themselves have on new years eve. They are way more beautiful, less dangerous and less disruptive for those that don’t like them (and lets not forget that new years fireworks are a real load for the environment).

I did spend the night at Patrick’s house. Next morning after breakfast and some coffee Patrick bought me to the station, from where I travelled to Haaksbergen.

Sanne was right when she warned me that my mother looked weak and sick. As I already knew it did hurt me to see my mother like this. You could see on her face that she was cramped and felt uncomfortable. She lost weight again and is now under 40 kilograms again… which is way too less.
We talked for a long time. Many subjects passed by. It still remarkable that she can be so optimistic after all that happened.

With a heavy heart I went after visiting my mother to Marion’s parents. Her mum and dad are wonderful people. They noticed directly how I felt and were comforting. But without lying or not facing the truth. We all know that the situation around my mother is not very positive. I am really happy with knowing Marion’s father and mother.

Close to the afternoon Marion arrived at her parents place. She was staying at Sanne’s place and was surprised that I already arrived. She thought I would have stayed longer at Patrick’s place before travelling to Haaksbergen. We had lunch together and Marion’s mother really presented a very nice filled table.
After lunch and coffee Marion and I went to her place. As I have only a shower in my apartment, I always take the opportunity to enjoy the bathtub Marion has. This tub is larger as an normal one and had more then enough room for 2 persons (I know :P). I find it very relaxing to lay in a warm bath and let your thoughts float around.

Later in the afternoon Marion and I made a walk through the centre of Haaksbergen. It was weird to walk there again. Haaksbergen is the town were I did grow up and lived for many years. And since the few months that I live now in Heemskerk things are already changing in Haaksbergen. And yet it is a town with a warm spot in my heart.

At the terrace of “De Markt 2” we drank something and had some snacks. This terrace is very special to us, because this is the place where we did for the first time ever met. It was fun, because we were sitting under this big parasol while it was raining rather hard. Marion and I were all alone on the terrace and I don’t think the personal of “De Markt 2” were not that happy with us. But I think the tip we gave made that all good.

Late in the afternoon we went in the direction of Heemskerk. Some where along the road we had dinner. Nothing special, but nevertheless good.
Once in Heemskerk we prepared for a nice evening together. Marion took even for her doings a very long shower, while I prepared for a nice evening. All evening we cuddled on up on the couch watching a nice movie. Some beer and wine… some snacks… Life can be wonderful.

This morning started with breakfast on bed and this time I was the one who could stay in bed. Marion made a nice breakfast with hot kaiser-breads with garlic herbs cheese, soft boiled eggs and a nice tea.
Because of the bad weather (most of the time it was raining) we stayed inside. Talked a lot, read a bit and enjoyed ourselves. Got in the evening some very nice Chinese food and watched some tv again. Somewhere during the evening we made during one of the moments it was not raining a walk to get some fresh air.
The bad things about the bad rainy weather as we had it today is that you don’t want to go outside, but the nice thing is that it becomes quickly very cosy when you are together.
Tomorrow Marion will leave for some days abroad again…

So all with all it was not really a bad or negative weekend. Sure there were things to think about and subjects to make my mind clear about (if possible at all). But it is about balance… and this weekend this balance is very clearly positive…

And Marion? Right behind me asleep in my bed…

4 comments to this article, press "Continue Reading" to view them or to add a commment.

A big shock…

by Rob on

When I left last Sunday from Haaksbergen to Amsterdam, I knew my mother was not feeling well. She got anti-biotics and for some reason her body acted reacted very bad on that. But for antibiotics you always need to take the complete cure.
So when in the train, I called my mother to hear how things were going, she already told me that it all got worse. That already gave me a bad feeling. And it made my arrival in Amsterdam harder this time, as I was feeling I should be back in Haaksbergen.

Today at work, I suddenly got a call from the home where my mothers stays to tell me that mother was taken to the hospital because they were very affraid that she was suffering for “bloed vergiftiging” (sorry, no English translation for that at the moment) and that they didn’t want to take a risk because that be lethal…
The told me that my brother already talked with the doctor and that he would have all the information…

So I called my brother and he was completely surprised by my call, because he wasn’t even aware that our mother was taken to the hospital.

So he made some calls and he found out that my mother was taken to the hospital because they didn’t want to take any risk for this “bloed vergiftiging”. My brother called the hospital and there he heard that my mother was not out of all the examinations yet. He would be called when all the information was there.

Back on my room I prepared for a quick travel back to Haaksbergen. Just waiting for the call with the news!

Begin of the evening my brother called. Good news… it was not “Bloed vergiftiging”, but it seemed that just anti-biotics didn’t go along with the other medicines my mother was taken. At the hospital they will replace the antibiotics by something that my mother can handle. She has to stay some days in the hospital to recover some of her strength.

Tomorrow I will ask my team leader if I can take of Wednesday afternoon, so I can travel back to Haaksbergen and work Thursday and Friday from home. That way I can visit my mother in the evenings.

So for now, end good, all good…. but oh, I feel like 10 years older!

5 comments to this article, press "Continue Reading" to view them or to add a commment.

Appreciate what you have…

by Rob on

Right now I sit in the hospital waiting before I can visit my mother (see my last post). Sitting here…. seeing worried people, people with health problems… people in pain… people with an unclear future….
We people are so spoiled… have so many priorities all wrong… In the end it comes all down to people, the people around us every day… no money, no big belongs, no career, no big time things…. just people, those that are everyday close and the ones we care about.

This mood I am having currently made me think of a small movie I saw recently on the Blog of my friend Dave (and which I shamelessly copied from there)….

Appreciate what you have…

*posted through the public Internet-connection of
the MST hospital in the city of Enschede*

5 comments to this article, press "Continue Reading" to view them or to add a commment.


by Rob on

It is weird how suddenly the way things go can change… from easy going to very chaotic. During the night before the last one my mother was taken in to the hospital.
It must have been around 1 am when she called me. She was having breathing problems and was feel very oppressed. I didn’t trust the situation for a moment and called the emergency phone-number. After hearing me, an ambulance arrived with a few minutes and brought my mother and me to the hospital in the city of Enschede.

After all kind examinations (which took from 2am to around 6am) they made the diagnose that she had a sincere inflammation of her respiratory tracts. This may have been for a healthy person nothing to serious, but for my mother and her weak health is really a serious matter.
That is why they decided to keep my mother in the hospital to treat her with strong antibiotics and they could monitor her all the time.
Yesterday I heard there were some other complications.  The blood pressure of my mother was way too low, which is strange because normally it is way too high. Also the found out that my mother was dehydrated.

All with all not the best situation, but my mother could be nowhere else better as in the hospital where she is now. Although every time I walk into the unit where she is, I get it strange feeling. It is the same unit where my father died of lung cancer. Not related to the situation of my mother, but the emotions are there.

Lets hope that antibiotics will soon start to work and that my mother regathers her strength. Anyway, as I look at it now I think my mother will be in the hospital with Christmas.

Me? It is hitting me harder then I thought. I was doing rather lately well and my health was recovering slowly. But right now I feel lousy… physical and mental. But I think when the situation of my mother changes for the better, this will turn very fast in the good direction as well again.

Lets hope for all the best….

And oh Marion, thank you being there and being such a good friend

2 comments to this article, press "Continue Reading" to view them or to add a commment.