We, his three sisters, were born later. And for Frank that must have taken some getting used to. We understood little of each other in those early years. We lived in our separate universes, coexisting peacefully, and sometimes less peacefully, within our family.
Frank’s universe started at the door to the attic, behind which was his room full of books and his large table. Our universe was on the other side of that door. We managed to live with and next to each other and that was it. We shared a bond and felt loyalty towards one another, but did not understand each other.
After we left our parental home, Frank became the master of his own life. He moved into a room at the Hatertseveldweg, studied History, and after graduation continued the search for his place in life.
We saw each other on holidays and anniversaries: marriages, birthdays, Christmas. For Frank, this wasn’t always a cause for celebration. Frank struggled with his own, and his parents expectations of himself. He often left those gatherings feeling like he wasn’t good enough. Nevertheless, he showed up every time, loyal as he was to those close to him.
That loyalty and commitment between us stayed and was strengthened ever more by friendship, mutual understanding and love. He also became a good friend to his brothers in law. He always helped them with translations, the odd job and anything else with which he could assist us. After our father died, he took on the role of leading man in the family with a great deal of passion. He felt that this was his responsibility and loved to give speeches in the style of his father.
His greatest moment was the day he became an uncle. He loved his nieces and nephews and would stop at nothing to amuse them. A glass of coca-cola for breakfast, watching Top Gear together, romping around and visiting the gaming club on Sundays. He collected football cards (and found the final card to complete our collection) and immediately bought anything that he thought his nieces and nephews would like (stones, t-shirts, knives, caps, scarves, firemen costumes, he bought it all). When he arrived with such a present, he would be rocking on his shoes at the door and would pull his latest surprise out of his large backpack while still on the doorstep. He was incredibly impatient to see the looks on the children’s faces and shared in their joy in almost equal measure. All this made him an example to his nephew and nieces: his generosity, love, loyalty and ability to connect with children all combined to make him an amazing uncle.
We will miss Frank very much.
Marieke van den Bergh