Saturday, July 03, 2010

Blood, Sweat, and Tears

I don't know exactly why, but I am somewhat ashamed of my Dutch heritage. Maybe the reason I have a hard time cheering for the Dutch in the World Cup in South Africa, is because I know a little bit about the history of apartheid and I can't bring myself to cheer for Orange. I don't know much about how Nelson Mandela accomplished reconciliation or how many poor are still barely surviving in South Africa. I know the future can be bright from the sun, or that precious things could ignite into flame given enough heat and pressure.

I want to cheer for the only team I can cheer for as a Canadian of Dutch descent, the Netherlands team. I am Dutch through and through, with a pinch of French from the Huguenots and maybe a touch of Freisland in the mix (if they were significant in my heritage, I am sure I would know how to spell Freisland). But the Dutch people themselves are some kind of European mix as well. Sometimes though I guess everyone has to let go of all the wrongs in the past and move on to a better future.

My maternal grandfather was somewhat scarred from his experiences in the Netherlands during the Occupation of Holland by Nazi Germany. He was hiding for most of the war and he was secretly corresponding with my maternal grandmother who he met briefly during the war. At the end of the war they married and left for Canada where they made their future together. They have been gone for over two years now and they are together and were not long separated. I think they understood much wisdom at the end of their long lives together. I look forward to seeing them again in bodies that are not failing and without any scars or bitterness. I look forward to laughing again with them and there being no more tears or death or crying or pain. I look forward to my grandmother being articulate, sharp-witted, and cheerful again and my grandfather smiling at me and showing me his beautiful flowers. I don't know why I am mourning them now, rather than at their funerals, but then my eyes were bright with unshed tears. Now I cry for myself, more than for them.

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