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  • On my way to go grocery shopping before the forecasted storm is inland, I saw a woman with big shopping bags for the Sinterklaas festivities. It´s a Dutch tradition, Sinterklaas. A bit like St. Nick. She had bags full of wrapping paper, soft drinks, chocolate. She answered a phone call. "Oh sorry, I'm in a meeting, I can't talk right now!" I grinned, and exchanged looks with other shoppers. I passed the florist. I remembered that he bought my book 'So, you're an orphan now' last week (Dutch edition). For his wife. She has her own story, like many of us do. Today, the florist´s wife was in the shop, and said that she had almost read the whole book in a few days time. She recognized a lot in my stories. A lot of similarities. For instance the awkwardness in behaviour of people around her. She said: "They didn't know what to say, so they said nothing. And they complimented me about the way I did everything by myself." She looked directly at me.

    She knows, I know, that exactly that compliment is what makes it painful. "You're doing such a good job, thumbs up!" you hear. When all you would want to say is "Are you blind or something?"

    I feel grateful that she has read the book and that she feels truly heard.

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