Lynn ~ 2 ~ the silent one

Right, everything is a little bit exaggerated, but for me it’s difficult to keep secrets from her. Although I am sure she has a couple of secrets for me, but that’s alright. I think that’s what I know about her, that she’s keeping secrets for me. For our family.

When I enter the house my brother is walking to me. He’s adopted from Indonesia, just like me, only four years earlier. Only his posture let you think otherwise, the boy is gigantic. Especially for an Indonesian. I guess it’s also the amount of potatoes and other Dutch and Western food we got from our parents. However, it didn’t had that kind of effect with me. I am the tiniest person in this household and I was lucky to have a big brother like Stuart. That’s his name, Stuart. Also really international. He’s a real sports guy. Always busy with soccer, later boxing, he took a study in management and physical education to start his own gym. So we’re both nothing like our parents, that’s for sure, but they never expected that from us. They taught us everything we need to know to manage our own life and business. Me as a freelance reporter and my brother as personal instructor. 

‘Hey sis.’ He wraps his arms around me and gives me a small lift. ‘How are you?’

‘Good. I guess. And you?’

‘I am fine.’ He caresses my arm. He is always been the strongest of both of us. 

‘Where is dad?’ I ask as I walk in the living room.

‘In his study of course’, my mom answers. ‘Where else? He will be her soon. There are some clients in deep shit.’

‘What?’ I start laughing with my brother. ‘Come on mom!’ I put my bag and camera on the dinner table.

‘No seriously, you won’t believe how many businesses don’t have their own business together.’ She waves our hand. 

‘They don’t have dad as their husband’, I tease.

‘Yeah that’s right’, my mom laughs. 

‘Mom, what’s wrong?’ I ask her. ‘Tell me, I think I know, but I need you to say it.’

‘Like you are.’ She’s putting some cups for tea on the kitchen counter. ‘Well, they have found some metastases, again.’

‘I thought so.’ I bow my head. ‘Where?’

She gives a deep sigh. ‘My intestines and stomach. I can have radiation and chemo, again.’

I look at my brother and see he already knows. ‘You can do that?’

‘I have no choice.’ Finally she looks up. ‘I am not a grandmother yet.’

‘She always finds a reason to continue her treatment.’ My father finally enters the building. A big tall man with white-brown hair and big dark glasses. He kisses my cheek. ‘There you are. Did your assignment went well?’

‘I guess.’ Now I don’t care about any assignment anymore and I walk away. With my bag I walk to a seating place in the corner of the living room. This has alway been my place. Where I did my reading or study. I always was the quiet one. Everyone knows and they leave me alone until my mom finishes the drinks for all of us. 

‘Lynn, tea is here.’ My mom puts the tea on our table. ‘Don’t be sad, my love’, she says when I sit next to her on the couch. ‘Everything will be fine. We will be fine.’

All I can do is nod and handle tea she has put on the table. Immediately I notice how tired she looks. I don’t even know how tired I look. Not because of my mom, but because of the difficult world around me. Starting your career is one thing, but starting your career while a loved one is fighting cancer is another. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy with my career as a photographer. I just wished the world would make it easier sometimes.

Lynn ~ 1 ~ the battle

Lynn. I am still happy with the name my Dutch parents gave me. That’s right, my Dutch parents. Their names are Celine and Philip. Fortunately very international names and therefor they wanted to give their new daughter, who they adopted from Indonesia, an original international name as well. So Lynn it was. My mom is very fond of music, so she wasn’t a woman who had lots of books about baby names. No, she would search through her music collection until she found the best name for her new child. Then she found out the fifth of May would be the day she will meet me. As this is the independence day in the Netherlands, she called me Lynn after the singer Vera Lynn. I know it’s a bizar story and it’s the truth. You will be convinced as soon as you see her collection music albums. She didn’t stop with collecting records when the CD’s came out, nothing stopped her and now the house of my parents has a great wall with numerous records my mom collected through the years. Really amazing. Next to her wall, you won’t believe it, is my fathers wall full of books of old and new philosophers. My parents are one of a kind and I never cared whether I was adopted or not their biological child. They gave and still giving me an amazing life with music and literature. So, they will be very artistic people you will think. Well no, my father works as an accountant and my mom is a physiotherapist. She worked parttime when I went to pre-school and later on she developed in her work in healing, acupressure, yoga and all that kind of spiritual stuff. And me, to everyones surprise I decided to study journalism. Even for me it was a surprise and I didn’t expect to be accepted at all, but I did. I studied journalism in the strangest time. In my second year 9/11 happened and later the assault on the Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn. Those two happenings motivated me more to continue this study and I discovered my love for writing, research and politics. This discovery was not what my parents had in mind for me at all. They weren’t the kind of parents who had everything figured out for their girl, but letting her go to a foreign country in war and conflicts was way out of their expectations. It wasn’t the war I was focused on, more the conflicts and the unfairness in the world. There’s too much and I wanted to be the one to report this with my writing. I wasn’t someone who could solve the problems, but I could write about it and let the public know what I witnessed during my time abroad. This is what I discovered during my internship and after graduation I really put my mind on being a foreign news reporter. But that never happened the way I had in my mind. The same month of my graduation my mom was diagnosed with cancer, breast cancer, and everything shifted. Everything. Nothing was important, because my world experienced one of the greatest battles many people endure in this world. The battle against cancer and that was all that existed and still exists for me.

‘Lynn! Come here, what are you doing over there?’ From the front door my mom is waving at me to come in. Of course I come in. Where else will I be, where else have I been, where else do I want to be?

‘Just making a picture mom!’ I make a quick picture with my camera and I see my mom laughing. Thats what I started to do, making pictures. Luckily I also followed a minor photography during my study, so I could use my own pictures with my writing. Apparently, that’s how it supposed to be. Because I started working as a freelance photographer after my study and this has been my rescue to continue my career and take care of my mother when she needed me the most.

‘Stop that’, she shouts grinning and holding her hand out to me.

‘Hi mom.’ I kiss her cheek.

‘My love.’ She holds me longer than normal and I know what’s gonna happen. The battle is not over. It’s back.

‘Why?’ I ask.

As usually she doesn’t have to say anything. I know already. By the way she talks, the tone of her voice, her smile, her laughter and her eyes. Even though I am not biological hers, I know everything about her and she knows everything about me. We are the same.

‘Lynn! Come here, what are you doing over there?’ From the front door my mom is waving at me to come in. Of course I come in. Where else will I be, where else have I been, where else do I want to be. 

‘Just making a picture mom!’ I make a quick picture with my camera and I see my mom laughing. Thats what I started to do, making pictures. Luckily I also followed a minor photography during my study, so I could use my own pictures with my writing. Apparently, that’s how it supposed to be. Because I started working as a freelance photographer after my study and this has been my rescue to continue my career and take care of my mother when she needed me the most.

‘Stop that’, she shouts grinning and holding her hand out to me.

‘Hi mom.’ I kiss her cheek.

‘My love.’ She holds me longer than usual and I know what’s gonna happen. The battle is not over. It’s back.

‘Why?’ I ask.

As usually she doesn’t have to say anything. I know already. By the way she talks, the tone of her voice, her smile, her laughter and her eyes. Even though I am not biological hers, I know everything about her and she knows everything about me. We are the same.