In Loving memory of Wim van Wingerden
A few of you have met my friends, but most of you don't know Wim or Janny. These were the friends I met through a
chance email from Janny about three years ago. They invited me to visit them in Holland, and I was able to go in
October of 2005. Janny and I had corresponded for nearly two years by then and were good friends. But the moment I
met Wim at the airport, he was an instant friend. By profession, he was a Fireman, but had retired from that. He had a
jolly laugh and very soft, warm blue eyes. And he was so patient with me as I struggled to speak Dutch. He was a big
man, too, six feet tall, yet he was soft spoken and came across to me as a very gentle soul. Wim was just a big teddy
bear, and you couldn't be around him and not love him. Wim was a lot of fun to know. Janny and I had a great time
together, too, and she invited Ineke, Thea, and Monique to come for a day and visit me. I had met Thea at Sonja's, but
Janny made sure I got to meet Ineke and Monique, too. We became "the Rieu Girlzzz." For some strange reason, Wim
disappeared that day. I have an idea, FIVE women all in the same house, and all nutty about Andre, were a little more
than he wanted to deal with.
The picture of Wim, above, I took last July at the fan dinner in Maastricht. When I met Janny and Wim that day he had
big smile and hug for me. And he was so nice to my daughter, Robin. In September, Janny wrote me that Wim was
sick and had a lump in his arm that was painful. After several trips to the doctor, November 9, the results of an MRI
and CT scan showed several more lumps in his abdomen. A biopsy was done on the 16th, but they to wait till the 29th
for the results. Meanwhile, Bianca, their daughter, had her baby, and Wim got to hold a new little grand daughter,
Magdalief, in his arms. He already had a handsome young grandson, Sven. On the 29th, the results of the biopsy
proved the tumors to be malignant. Since then, Janny has been too upset and worried to write. She simply was not
able think clearly in English, but she had Ineke keep me informed. I appreciate Ineke's doing that more than I can say.
Wim was in and out of the hospital for a time, and I telephoned Janny twice. Wim was home then, but too sick to talk. I
told her to tell him he was my Dutch boyfriend and he had get well. I could hear him laugh when she did. But he was
really more like my Dutch big brother and I thought the world of him. He was able to be at home for Christmas, but last
week, he had to go back to hospital and stay. I wish I could have gone to see him. I wish I could have told him good
bye and that I will never forget him. I wish I could have gone to be with Janny, too, and to tell her, myself, how much
she and Wim have meant to me. And how sad and sorry I am that he is gone.
Janny, my heart is with you, and I am crying, too. Don't worry about writing me just now. I love you and I understand.
You also have many friends here in America. Even though you haven't met a lot of them, they care about you. And
though we are all far away, you are not alone.
Liefs van Maggie
Please write Janny a note of support.
Janny van Wingerden
3344 RA Hendrik Ido Ambacht.