My mother: a true inspiration & my happy childhood

Today, it´s 18 years ago that we lost a true inspiration and treasure on earth: my mother! Lately, I have come to realise that the time she has been in my life almost equals the time she has gone. Often I wish I got to know her better, as myself being an adult. It´s because I feel that I am almost an exact copy of her, from the outside as well as from the inside. Me being confused about life at times and with feelings that I mess things up at other times, I just wish I could ask her for advice sometimes. Because I wonder how she did what she did. My mother was an inspiration by truly being selfless and giving me a happy, healthy childhood was one of the greatest gifts I could have asked for in life.

By the way, all photos in this post are not of the best quality because they were taken from printed ones, my mum passed before we had cameras on our cell phones.


Respect your parents, they passed school without google- quote
And my mother lived before we had camera´s on our cellphones, so please respect the photo´s! This photo was taken at a café in Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel Island, when I was solo travelling in the Azores


Losing my mom at 21 years of age was a turning point in my life

In the first chapter of Safety Stop, the book, I write about losing my mom after her fight with cancer. My mother, even up until the last days of her life, showed her true selflessness by comforting my sister and me, rather than herself. She always has been an inspiration to me and the way she has given me such a happy childhood. Safety Stop starts off with this experience since it was a turning point in my life. One in which I realised that life can be very short and that we should not wait to live our dreams. I took off and became a scuba diving instructor, working double jobs in the last year living in the Netherlands and working double jobs in the first year abroad. After this, I was able to work all over the world.

My mother´s values: an inspiration even after my happy childhood

I did not realise that time that my mum already shaped me and that it was because of her that I was able to fight for my dreams. It was my mum who taught me not to give up, to work hard for my goals, not to complain about the small stuff, to think positive and to stay humble. I am not always living up to this, but I try. It was easier that time than it has become in later years, especially after also losing my dad, but I am on my way back to becoming the person my mum raised me to be.


My mother was a true inspiration of providing me a happy childhood
This was in the last years of the life of my mother. She was already having cancer, being on medication, wearing a wig, yet still always smiling

A happy childhood should not be taken for granted, it´s a true gift from a mother

Another reason I started Safety Stop with that chapter is that I always thought that there was nothing special about the first 20 years of my life. However, later I have come to realise that this time was super special and precious. Having lived and worked in all kinds of cultures and also after immersing myself in quite some self-help and spiritual stuff, I came to understand that I have no real ´childhood wounds´. My mother gave me the biggest gift I could have wished for: a happy childhood. Her story could be an inspiration to many.

The only person I needed to forgive was myself for not always having lived the way my mother raised me

Nowadays you hear and read so much about healing the trauma from our childhood and this is not to be disrespected, there are some really bad stories out there. But I simply have absolutely nothing to blame my mum for. The only person I need to forgive is myself for not always having lived the way my mother raised me to be. And also, to have named my childhood even boring as a kid at times. What I found boring at that time, a ´normal´ happy and healthy childhood, has become something a deeply cherish now. I will be forever grateful for a happy childhood and the inspiration my mother gave me.


My mother: an inspiration I write about in Safety Stop book, provided me with a happy childhood
My mother, sister and me. I had a truly happy childhood, because of everything what my parents did for us

A happy childhood means that your mother is always there for you

I did not grow up in a very wealthy family, although nobody in the Netherlands can be called poor. The richest gift, however, was this: my mum was always there for me before and after school, she cooked every single day a healthy meal, she worked a lot of hours doing different jobs from administrative jobs to taking care of two small children from another family. She did this not only to give my sister and me a happy childhood but also so we could both study at university later on. They already start saving money when we were little, only for the future of my sister and me. A true inspiration of selflessness, isn´t it?


My family - a truly happy childhood
My family at my older sister´s celebration of her first communion

Other stuff my mother did in my happy childhood what simply also is an inspiration

My mother also volunteered for the red cross and at our school, did some hairdressing for older people in the village, sold the Christmas trees, went to church and lived the catholic way of life. She preserved fruits and veggies from the garden for the wintertime, she did knitting and made sweaters, scarfs and gloves for my sister and me. And here I only name a few things she did. She also was a good wife. My dad once said (after my mum already has passed away) that my mother was everything a husband could wish for. She never shouted or fought with my dad, was almost always in a good mood and always pushed me to be my best self: especially to work hard for what I wanted, not to give up easily, to be honest, and to be respectful to others.


My parents (Leo Derkx & Nelly Janssen) getting married
My dad said once that my mother was everything a husband could wish for. The wedding day of my parents, before I even arrived on this planet

The only trauma to overcome was the loss of my mother too early

This piece of writing actually started off with a Facebook post, but it somehow automatically became a blog post. Not about diving, travelling or healthy food, but just about my mom. Being older I could easily write a book about my happy childhood and the inspiration of my mother! She deserves all this, she has given so much that can be shared with the world today and my mom can be an inspiration to other people too (I believe). Because of all the drama childhood stories nowadays, my healthy childhood has become unique. The only drama I experienced was losing my mother too early.

The inspiration of a happy childhood needs to be shared too, to show the people in our future that good mothers also existed in our time

My mother has inspired me to write this story of a happy childhood. Her loss was the reason I got the Celtic motherhood symbol tattooed on my back a few years after her death. Her story could serve to bring a kind of balance to all the drama stories out there, to show the people in our future that good mums also existed in our time. And I can share what it feels like to experience a healthy childhood, to be brought up by a truly selfless mother who did everything for her two daughters. Unfortunately, people tend to like drama stories more than normal stuff and that´s probably why I never wrote much about this. I once wrote a small piece of Christmas memories, to be found here:

Christmas Nostalgia

Celtic sign of motherhood tattoo
I got a tattoo of the Celtic sign of motherhood on my back after my mother passed away

My mother even protected me after her death and her spirit lives on

Sometimes I do wonder though if her selflessness might have been connected to her cause of getting cancer and if she did dismiss herself. I might never know. What I do know for sure is that she never completely left. She is on my mind often and in my heart always, I love her so much. There have been many situations in my life that I know for sure that she protected me, that her presence was somehow with me or that she simply sent me a sign. I will write more about that in the Safety Stop book. If people die, their body´s are gone but their spirit lives on, I just know that because of experiences with my mum, after my dad passed away, and other people close to me whose bodies have left planet earth.


One of those signs from passed away loved ones
During my solo travels through Thailand, I looked at the back of the ´Koh Lanta National Park´ sign, where I found this quote. It was the exact same words as my mum told me in her last week, preparing me for her death. This sign was placed in front off a steep drop off and I doubt that many people look at the back of that sign.

Don´t bitch about unimportant stuff but show your parents that you love them before it´s too late

For now, I share all this personal stuff about her, simply because it is an inspiration and I hope to more people around the world. Good examples should be shared too and my mum is the best example ever. I hope it may also be a reminder to never forget to appreciate your mother when you still can, because I wish I had done it more. I was still pretty young, but that´s not an excuse. A better excuse might be that I did not realise she was going to leave so soon, and I think this might speak to every person losing a loved one. So don´t wait for that. Don´t bitch about the unimportant things but instead see the bigger picture and show people that you love them before it´s too late.


My parents who passed away both before my 30th birthday
One day it will be too late to show your parents how much you love them. My mom and dad passed away before I celebrated my 30th birthday

That what is real, never changes: memories full of love

Looking back, I start to see that I saw the wonder of such an amazing and inspiring mother. After losing her, I first did not really allow the bad feelings, I guess it was part of the way I was brought up. But by resisting it, I also pushed away from seeing the good. When I finally allowed the pain and sadness, I still could not see the beauty of it all. But once those feelings vanish, the true memories are the ones that remain, and it´s a spiritual saying that thát what is real, never changes. I guess, after having worked through the pain and accepted things as they are, I can now only see what is true. It´s the only thing that remains: memories full of love.


A happy childhood is the greatest gift from my parents
My parents & me, the day of my first communion, I grew up Catholic

My mom is my biggest hero and I carry a part of her with me that I will never let go off

My mother was 21 years physically in my life, but she is always in my heart and connected to my soul. She is my biggest hero and I carry a part of her with me that I will never let go of. Many people, myself included, can still learn from her and that´s why I write about her. She should always be remembered. I have learned from Marianne Williamson to ´get over myself´ if you want to serve something in this world. I needed to hear this one day when I was still missing my mother, and later my dad, so much.

My mom, also having lost her dad at a young age, did this automatically without ever reading self-help or spiritual stuff. I guess by living for other people, she just got over herself and gave my sister and me a truly happy childhood. By serving others, you automatically get over yourself. Once again, my mother is an inspiration.


My parents and me when I got baptized as a Catholic
Getting baptized in the Catholic Church, me as a baby with my lovely parents

In remembrance of my mother: no happy bubbles or travel info today but inspired by loving memories

“Thank you, mum, I love you to the moon and back, and that a million times. And dad, you deserve a post like this too soon. You contributed also to this happy childhood, I took you for granted too and did not thank you enough for it when you were still alive.”

In remembrance of my mother. No happy bubbles or travelling today, but lots of loving memories and the inspiration of my mother.

And thank you my dear aunty for those printed photo´s and for always being there for me <3

My mum: a true inspiration for giving me a healthy childhood
My mum, a true female hero!


4 thoughts on “My mother: a true inspiration & my happy childhood”

  1. Beautiful story. Your mother will be proud of you always

  2. Thank you Michele, I know you have been through a similar story. And we both know that their love acompany us. <3

  3. Beautiful ode to your mum Ellis, I’m sure she has allways been very proud of you! Their unconditional love will always accompany us ❤️

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