Saturday, December 21, 2013

Who was Ad van Berchum?

Ad and me celebrating the completion of the fence's
first panel.
Many things: father, husband, friend, DIY master, harbinger of good humor and incisive wit. The saddest, by far, is that he now Was. That he Is no more.

I don't believe in the afterlife, in a transcendental soul, in the possibility of re-encounter, of reunion. And if I'm right, then the only permanence is in the memory of the living.

I met Ad at a beach barbecue somewhere in the beginning of 2008, when he and Marjan, his wife, were here in Curaçao to test it out, to find their way around before moving here later that year. They'd be moving into a house on the same street as ours; we'd be neighbors.

Panchita, guarding the planks
for the fence
When they did move, I wasn't here to welcome them; I was in India, and in spite of the fact we'd only met once before, they took care of Panchita, my dog (at that point it was just the one), for a whole month and they did such a great job of it that any time they visited, even years later, just the sound of Marjan's or Ad's voice would drive Panchita into a tail-wagging frenzy.

The friendship with the person that introduced us faded, but ours stayed. Grew. Multiple dinners, drinks at our place or theirs. Thanksgiving 2010, when Maru and Gabriel and Anthony cooked up a storm. 15ths of September, and Ad's love of Mexican food.

And the fence, the unforgettable fence. Ad and Marjan spent two weekends helping me put up that fence--which I had to take down in October because we had a wall built in its stead. But I'll put it back up at the back of the property, facing the house so that the view from inside the house--the living room, the bedroom--is of Ad's fence.

It will always be Ad's fence.

Is it possible to lose someone without having regrets? The time we didn't spend together, the phone calls we didn't make, the conversations we didn't have?


  1. So sorry for your loss, Guilie. This was a such lovely tribute to what sounds like a wonderful guy… and talented, too. That fence is gorgeous. I can see why you’d want to preserve it, not only for the sentimental, but for its beauty too. Hope you have a good holiday regardless of the loss. Take care.

    1. Thanks so much for the visit, Sarah, and for your sympathy. Yep, the holidays have been kind of quiet this year, but I cringe when I think of Ad's family, what his wife, his children are going through. If any of them see this post, I hope your comment--appreciation from someone who didn't know Ad--will warm their hearts a little :)

  2. Guilie I'm just reading this now. So sorry for your loss. I recognize his name from your FB posts. How sad for you and for his family. My thoughts are with you all.

  3. I don't think it's possible to lose someone without having regrets. Thank you for this nice post about my father! I realy appreciate this.
    Allthough we lived far apart from each other and didn't get to see each other very often, I miss him more than ever.

    Thanks again!


    1. I'm so sorry for your loss, Larissa. Your father was a wonderful man who brought light and laughter, and a thought-provoking perspective, to many (including me). I wish I'd had more time with him. I lost my own father many years ago, and so I understand your pain. I know, too, that knowing he touched other lives, that others remember him, cared about him, and miss him helps a little. I'm glad you found this post :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...