Life had another lesson to teach me…

July 13, 2021

Or was it death, that was trying to teach me something…?

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon and I was travelling back from a few days off.

I often use this time in the car to talk with people and that morning I called my mom to see how she was doing. Or just to hear her voice. With a serious distance between us, I don’t get to see her that often and the pandemic only made that even harder.

During the pandemic I heard a lot from folks living abroad and how they suffered being apart from their family. How hard it was to miss celebrations, let’s forget final goodbye’s.

When I reflected on that, I must admit, I often thought “what is the big deal”? You can call them, videocall even to stay in touch and it’s part of the expat life after all.

As mentioned, I called my mom yet she had (great)grandchildren visiting so we agreed it was better she would enjoy that first and that I’ll call back later that afternoon.

Driving through Italy towards France, I continued my journey and somewhere during the afternoon I received a Whatsapp that ‘something’ happened to my mother. Not long after I got a call which told me that ‘something’ was a huge heart attack and that it was unclear what to expect…


BANG!!! A punch in the stomach. A cold shiver in my heart. A million thoughts crossed my racing mind.
In between somewhere and nowhere I felt the deepest loneliness and very, very far away from what used to be home.

I imagined my mother in the ER where doctors tried to safe her life.

Flashbacks to the day my father passed away, now 35 years ago.

I always thought we’ve said all the words which needed to be spoken. I started wondering if that was true. Complete or not? Was I ready to let her go with a heart at peace…?

Bitter tears I cried. I mourned my mother before she was gone. I felt alone, so alone.

All of a sudden I felt one with all those expats who cried similar tears. All of a sudden I started to see, to feel, that the last time you said goodbye in person never is enough for a final goodbye…

Another lesson in humbleness I had to learn. Another lesson in compassion I had to experience…

A couple of days later I was able to visit my mother in hospital. How precious!

After that visit I wrote these words:

Never longed to see you more

Never held you closer 

Never hugged you this intense

Your kisses and whispering meant the world to me

Your eyes lit up when they saw me

You cried when you said my name

I cried when I held your hand

Love filled my heart


My beloved mother

You knocked on heaven’s doors

Almost reunited with my dad

Eternity wasn’t ready for you yet

Thus sent you back

For precious moments to live

To love 

To share


To read you your favourite psalm 

To be closer than ever before 

Whilst we’re trusting the divine 

What today’s goodbye really means


© Alex Verlek (July 2021)


  1. John says:


    Losing or almost losing a loved one is truly as you describe “a gut punch”.
    I am so happy you were able to see your mom, and empathetic to the lesson here.
    It is, I feel, unfortunately a lesson we all need to learn and experience ourselves.

    Thank you for sharing this


    1. Alex says:

      Thanks for your words John! You are a man with a huge heart!!

  2. Jane says:


    1. Alex says:

      Thanks Jane…

  3. Tim says:

    🙏🙏 thank you for sharing your experience and the many different feelings that pass through you. They resonate so much with me and my situation.

    Saying what you need to say, as often as you feel the need to is a lesson. Will it ever be enough? What is enough?

    But at least saying when you can gives comfort and will leave me with less regrets if any


    1. Alex says:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Tim!

  4. Megan says:

    Alex, having lost both parents, this your story warmed my heart. I am so happy to read that you have additional time. I believe that she is here for a reason still. Love without boundaries. Cherish every moment.

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