life stories

Welcome to Coconut Connections

Real life stories

Saturday, September 22, 2012

My mother in law, Jopie Bisenberger.

April 10,1915-April 25,2012
This picture was taken on her birthday April 10,2012. Always had a smile and a twinkle in her eyes.She loved flowers and her room had almost always about four vases of fresh cut flowers.She loved colors, the more colorful the bouquet of flowers was, the happier she would be.

I am trying to write a few lines on my blog. It has been very hectic the last few days. Sad to write down that we had to say goodbye to my mother in law. On April 23 we got a call from my sister in law that mother Jopie was not doing so well. We had tickets to fly out for the 27 and immediately were on the phone to change our tickets. We flew out the next day April 24 and arrived the following morning at six thirty.At seven thirty that day we were at her bed side. We believe that she was aware that we were there.At twelve forty that same day she passed away very peacefully.My mother in law had just celebrated her 97 birthday on April 10.How fortunate we have been, to have her for that long.
My sister in law Carla told us that lately mom had been very confused. Carla went to see her twice a day and she had never seen her mother so busy. She would talk and talk. Most of the talking did not make sense. Everything was totally mixed up. It was like she had stored all her memories and threw them in a mixer.
She went very peaceful, and we her children are very grateful she did not have to suffer.Ninety seven is a wonderful age.
We know she is at peace and we hope she is having fun with her sisters.She believed that she would meet her sisters again, and they would be sitting on a cloud and smile at us down below.We will miss you, and it will be strange not to see you sitting in front of the window, waving the sheers up and down.You will always be remembered, specially because you were always so optimistic. You never complained. For the five years she was in the old age home she had one wish. A large Blue spruce was blocking her view, it was a very large spruce, and every day when we would come to visit her, she would say: "If only we could make that tree disappear." We would always fantasize how we could do it."Look at it": she would say:"even the birds are not sitting in it, because this tree has spikes and the damn thing is blocking my view."
Well mamma Jopie you can now look from above and you will be able to look over the tree.I can hear you say already when you are floating on your cloud over the tree, "Look at that damn tree, it's still there."
You will always be remembered.We love you.

On the 29th of April of the year 2012 we had to say goodby to our dear, strong, exceptional mother, mother in law, Oma and great grand mother. 
                                                     Johanna Maria Kromhout
                                                     ex-wife of Joop Bisenberger 

Carla my sister in law gave a beautiful speech. Here follows the translation:

Dear All,

It's so nice to see you all here, and to say goodbye to our mother, mother in law, and Oma.
First of all you all have to know that Mom organized her funeral almost all by herself, when she was still living at the Vondellaan. The music, the picture on the card, the saying on the card 'ex-wife of Joop Bisenberger. She also picked out the chocolate in the form of a coffin with the thank you tag on it, which had to be handed out after the funeral. (she had a sense of humor). She also wished that her sons, son in law and grandsons, would carry the coffin to her final resting place... in the letter she wrote;" only if they have no back problems".

Thus we thought that it would be better if we would drive her to her last resting place, we think she would agree.

Well that's it, 97 years old. Unbelievable, tough as leather., and so many things happened in such a long life.
Three sisters. Johanna Maria, Trijntje and Hendrika. Two weeks after Hendrika was born, Trijntje passed away, only just a little over one year old. Terrible for Oma and Opa her parents such a tragedy, which she could feel in spite of her young age. Specially when she got older she spoke many times about it.
She always said that she was born on a Friday, because on that day hard working people get born. On a early age she already had a paper route and right away after finishing public school she had to  work and clean houses as a cleaning lady, for very little money. One skirt and one blouse, that's all she had, wash by hand one day and wear it the next day again, dry or not.
Our mother was courting our father when they were members of a Youth Organization.A club for "Red"political republic party of young boys. Opa Kromhout was dead against this boy she was in love with. Oma our grandmother did not like the boy either, and made life of our mother not easy.
They got married anyway and had two sons, Adriaan and Ruud. They divorced in 1943. 
They started seeing each other again ( that's how I will call it) and were forced to get married again because our mother was pregnant with me (Carla). I am so called from the second marriage of our Mother and Father. Strange, a little peculiar, but I am glad that's the way I entered this world.
In the meantime 'OP HOOP VAN ZEGEN'  a company for actors was founded, to the delight of our mother. Many times our mother was given the leading part. We heard that she was very good. Once a year (this was her holiday) she attended a school for actors for a week. They received acting lessons from professional actors, such as the parents from the now well known Rutger Hauer. She also got to know the actor Henk van Ulsen very well.
Our mother had something with Mayor's. One time when she attended these acting lessons, they were invited at the town hall in Velp. (a town in the Netherlands). When they entered the Town Hall her high heels became stuck in a grating. She struggled to keep herself from falling and tried to steady herself to a man who stood next to her and took hold of a chain which hung on the man's neck, needless to say this was the Mayor of this town and the chain broke. A very embarrassing moment, and later when this story was told, it was hilarious.
Another Mayor's story was when she had to retire as an acting member of Op Hoop van Zegen. A reception was organized in honor of her years as an acting member of Op Hoop van Zegen. A couple of times in her acting career she was asked to take the part of one of the actors who had become ill from other companies.She had to go to another city where she did not know any of these actors. No time for practice, just jump on stage. (how scary is that?) but she did it. After the performance, quickly catch the last bus home. The press and the public was impressed with her performing. 
From that performance one admirer kept coming to all her performances.She never saw him, but through others he made sure she received his compliments and his greetings.. Say to her they are from Willem" ( That had been his name in the role she had taken over from the actress who was sick, awhile ago). He always left quickly after the performance was over on his motorized bicycle back to Haarlem.
And then there was the reception of her saying farewell to her career as an actor. And there was Willem. She jumped off her chair and spontaneous put her arms around his neck, gave him a big kiss on both cheeks and said:" How nice of you to come. How is everybody at home? Did you come on your motorized bicycle?" she took him to a table and said to him:" Give me a moment, I will come and talk to you", because in the meantime more people had come in.
But Willem had left after a half hour before she noticed.
When the reporter of the local newspaper asked her if the Mayor or anybody else from the municipality had been she answered :" No, I did not see anybody from the municipality". The Master of  Ceremonies looked at her very surprised and asked her: "And who do you think the man was which you greeted and put your arms around his neck and you kissed him as if your life depended on it, and who was this man you pushed to a table and again put your arms around his neck and told him that you would sit with him as soon as you got a change?" Yes you understand, it was not Willem it was the Mayor.
It gave her lots of grief that she had to stop acting because of her health.
In 1970 her youngest son Ruud left for Canada with his wife and her two grandchildren. It was hard on her and five years later her oldest son Aad left for Canada as well. The one plus point was that she had an opportunity to go to Canada and also she went to Jamaica when Ruud and Thea lived and worked there.
The last years of her life being in an old age home were not easy for her. Specially that large blue spruce (she called it a tree with barb wire) where no bird would sit in and blocked her view,this tree was an unbelievable annoyance for her, on top of it she said ;" to top it off  it does not lose it's leaves in the winter". It was all she talked about, the' tree' which took her view away. Why was it that we could not chop it down for her, why is that not possible?
On the other hand she had no intentions to leave this world she always said:" There will be time enough to lay in my coffin".
And so this day finally came for her, and mom here you are, ready to step in that limousine to take you away. You did well. We are very proud of you and we will never forget you and we will always talk about the things you always told us.
We love you!  
My sister in law Carla with her mom. May 2011.
Ruud and his mom. May 2011.


Rest in Peace.

                   You are finally with your sisters. They are resting next to you.
Trijntje and Hendrika


This poem is for you:

We can cry and cry, because you are gone,
Or we can laugh because you lived.
We can close our eyes and wished you would come back,
Or we can open our eyes and see what you left behind.

Our hearts are empty, because we can't see you
Or we can be full of love of all the things you shared.
We can turn our backs and try to live in the past,
Or we can be happy for tomorrow, just because of yesterday.

We can in our memories only think that you are gone,
Or we can remember you, and let you live on.
We can cry, close the door, be empty and turn our backs
Or we can do, what you would like:
Laugh, open our eyes, love one another and just go on!
Because Mom, you left something beautiful behind
And that is us! Your children!

The source of all human love is the mother.

Mother in law Jopie who loved life,was always optimistic,always had a twinkle in her eyes, could tell a story like no one else, drove in her scoot mobile like a race car driver, was called in her town after the race car driver Sterling Moss, was an excellent actress,loved to have fun, did not like to miss a thing, had still too many thing to do here on earth. We will miss you!

No comments:

Post a Comment