After the death of her husband, Femke van der Laan experienced a deep kind of sorrow she had never experienced before. She wrote columns about it in Amsterdam’s daily newspaper, Het Parool, and came to the conclusion that there is not enough room in our society for grief and pain. Especially when trying to put your grief and sorrow into words. Her mission is now to spread the message: for God’s sake, just be sad.
Her columns about grief were compiled in a recent book called: ‘Stad vol ballonnen’, (a city filled with balloons), referring to her way of seeing the dead. As she explains, your deceased loved ones are attached to you like a balloon on a string tied to your wrist. They are floating with you wherever you go.
After a year of writing about her life without her life-partner and the father of their children and the grief, she decided that it was time to be light again in her writing. But even though she is ready to move to more light subjects in her work, she wants to share her experiences with sorrow with us at TEDxAmsterdam