February 12, 2019

Hey hey. We've another page for you all! Enjoy!

** Long talk below. It has all the feels. You have been warned ;). **

Yesterday, it was 5 years ago that Marjo, my youngest sister, was in fatal car accident. Initially I wasn't going to bring this up with this update, but I feel that this tragic day and all the pain that followed, has become such a big part of my Spindrift journey, that it felt wrong not to.

I was living in Germany at the time of her accident, and was preparing to launch the Kickstarter for my first book. The weekend before, I recorded the video for the campaign -and thankfully that is why I was able to see my sister shortly before the accident happened.
She had just gotten herself a new apartment, was about to move. Together we spend an evening outside in the cold sanding wooden planks for a table she was making. We laughed, caught up, and at the end of the weekend I promised to come over for coffee in her new place soon. We said our goodbyes and I went back to Germany. That was the last time I saw her alive. I cherish the memory of that day so incredibly much.

That Tuesday, when my sister's future was taken from her, my world shattered as well. I shared on this website what had happened, as people were waiting for updates on the Kickstarter. You guys overwhelmed me with your love, understanding and support. You wrapped me in a big warm blanket of kind words, wishing me and my family the strength we needed, there where those of you who shared their grief with me.
I know that we are strangers on the internet, but because you guys allowed me to express some of my grief here, made it feel like it was ok for me to do so.

I had a few pages made in buffer, because I had the Kickstarter campaign scheduled to go live that month and I wanted to keep updating the comic during it. I decided to use the buffer to take some time off instead. My plan was to make a new schedule after a few weeks. Some of my IRL friends, artist friends and webcomic colleagues jumped in to make Spindrift fanart for me to share as well, so I could take off a few extra weeks(http://www.spindrift-comic.com/archive the guestart section at the bottom).

I needed a lot more than a few weeks.

That this would be the case, seems like an obvious thing now. But there isn't anything in life that prepares you for the sudden loss of a loved one. I fell into a pretty deep depression afterwards, though I didn't know it at the time.
A year or so later I moved back to the Netherlands. I wasn't doing well being home alone in Germany all day (one of the downsides of being a freelancer) without my family and friends.

Once I was back in the Netherlands things were better for a while, until the depression got a hold of me again. It was my loving and amazing husband who opened my eyes to the fact that I probably needed to get help.
I didn't want it, and I still wouldn't admit to being depressed, but I was so desperately frustrated with myself that I agreed to it.

And boy did I need help. I can laugh about it now, but I really was a mess. Unable to get out of bed before noon (or at all on some days), I wasn't taking care of myself, I didn't want to do anything social, and worst of all. I couldn't draw. Making art is such a big part of my identity... I felt like there wasn't much of me left at that point.

Fast forward to now. Not going to lie, it took me a long time - much longer than I hoped or wanted- but getting professional help was the best thing I've done for myself in a very long time. I’m back at the point where I feel like a person again. Not the same person, I will never be that person again.
Nor am I completely healed, but feel stable and I learned a TON. About myself, about empathy. I've gotten closer to my parents, I became a sporty spice :O... and I'm back here, drawing for you guys again!

I will continue to miss Marjo, every day. There are still so many things I wish I could tell her, ask her. I wanted to see her grow and kick ass at life, see her start a family, hear about her travels and adventures. To have us become three silly old bitties together with Jenny, the middle sister.
Marjo and I were complete opposites in so many ways: she was all smiles and energy, but that was what always made it so fun to hang out with her. She will always be a light in my life <3.

Thank you guys for allowing me to use this space to talk about topics like grief and depression. Yes, technically this is my website and I can do with it what I want --but it is you guys have made this feel like a safe space.
It was healing for me to share this with you guys. One of the commenters called us a family, and as far as internet families go, you guys are a fucking amazing bunch to have around (pardon my French)! <3

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