Which song do you want to play at your own farewell anyway?
“The Nose Umhoeg by Rowwen Hèze.”
Why this particular number?
“Entire tribes think they have a hundred years to live, but it could be over tomorrow. I was once in hospital with a broken back, then it was almost over. Since then I’ve had chronic nerve pain, say a toothache times a hundred, which made me almost die twice.
Now it feels like I’m in bonus time. The sun is shining and Our Lord exists, but if you wear dark sunglasses, you won’t see it. When you see the big picture, you can let go today. That’s exactly what this song is about.”
And what does it say about your life?
“Because of the accident with my back, I was rejected and I miss a lung. In addition to pain, I also have a short-term memory of a maximum of a week. In the Netherlands this is seen as a handicap, but it gives me a special form of freedom. I’m very aware What value do I give to my day Do I give all my time to work for money or do I choose something else?
I opted for the latter and am now committed to working as a development worker. My wife and I live in Poland and help refugees. In Poland I buy a new pair of shoes for a homeless person for ten euros. That makes such a difference to someone. My wife and I run a foundation and live on donations. In Poland a euro is serious money, in the Netherlands I can’t do anything with it. It’s not always easy, but we can make a difference.
My wife is a therapist and sees dozens of people a week. We have more work than we have time. We can be very flexible and see who bleeds the hardest and we offer help there. And then you sometimes have a week less to eat, but then so be it. I hear the most harrowing stories from people I speak to and then it’s quite an advantage that I don’t know anything about it after a week.”
“It also applies to people in need: they fight with who they are, where their country is, what they have to do now. I recognize that feeling and am happy that I can listen and help. I know what it feels like to have nothing. I think you only feel freedom when you’ve really lost everything I now enjoy a third sandwich I have a shower For years I have wandered through Europe.
If you continue to cling to today and how it should and will be, it will only be paralyzing. I prefer to look at life in a different way and at death in a cheerful way. When I die, I go to Our Lord and I have a perfect body again. Everything will be fine, so let loose today, dude.”
Where do you prefer to listen to music?
“In bed, when I go to sleep. I can only sleep with music on. It distracts my mind. Very vague music sometimes too, old gospel songs in Russian and Polish, or East German techno. With earphones in so my wife I also wake up when the music stops, then I put on something else and go back to sleep.
Because of a stress disorder I always have a busy head, but as soon as I hear music I calm down. It takes me to another world for a moment. I do want to listen to music that matters, with lyrics about the meaning of life or a view of the world. Not something like Hazes, I think that’s Grimm’s fairy tales in music form.”
How many lists do you have on Spotify?
“Not one. I just start whatever I feel like at the time.”
What is your guilty pleasure?
“Patenbrigade: Wolff. Ha! Those songs are really not about anything at all. They are so far from reality that it almost returns to normal. The name comes from an East German group of friends. Hard and crazy. It is almost mystical, a country that has existed and now no longer exists as such, but is still so tangible. I find that interesting. That madness is wonderful.”
What song should be played at your funeral? And what does that say about your life? If you want to participate in this section, email your story to firstname.lastname@example.org