donderdag 31 oktober 2013

Vivian Maier

"I acquired Vivian's negatives while at a furniture and antique auction while researching a history book I was co-authoring on Chicago's NW Side. From what I know, the auction house acquired her belongings from her storage locker that was sold off due to delinquent payments. I didn't know what 'street photography' was when I purchased them.

It took me days to look through all of her work. It inspired me to pick up photography myself. Little by little, as I progressed as a photographer, I would revisit Vivian's negatives and I would "see" more in her work. I bought her same camera and took to the same streets soon to realize how difficult it was to make images of her caliber. I discovered the eye she had for photography through my own practice. Needless to say, I am attached to her work.

After some researching, I have only little information about Vivian. Central Camera (110 yr old camera shop in Chicago) has encountered Vivian from time to time when she would purchase film while out on the Chicago streets. From what they knew of her, they say she was a very "keep your distance from me" type of person but was also outspoken. She loved foreign films and didn't care much for American films.

Some of her photos have pictures of children and often times it was near a beach. I later found out she was a nanny for a family on the North Side whose children these most likely were. One of her obituaries states that she lived in Oak Park, a close Chicago suburb, but I later found that she lived in the Rogers Park neighborhood.

Out of the more than 100,000 negatives I have in the collection, about 20-30,000 negatives were still in rolls, undeveloped from the 1960's-1970's. I have been successfully developing these rolls. I must say, it's very exciting for me.
I found her name written with pencil on a photo-lab envelope. I decided to 'Google' her about a year after I purchased these only to find her obituary placed the day before my search. She passed only a couple of days before that inquiry on her.

I wanted to meet her in person well before I found her obituary but, the auction house had stated she was ill, so I didn't want to bother her. So many questions would have been answered if I had." - 
John Maloof

Wow... how can you do that, take 25,000 photos and not develope them... in this days of age we're able to immediately see what the photo looks likt, as it appears on the lcd screen of the camera... how exiting this must have been for Mr. Maloof. 25,000 Undeveloped negatives... wish I has been there to see it all with my own eyes.
Am a sucker for old photos...just love 'em!

Vivian Maier - New York

zaterdag 26 oktober 2013

Sarhea has lyme...

Young mother Sarhea's photos have been entered for the P/f Dutch photography portfolio award. Lyme disease kills! We must tell the world about this awful disease, spread the word (and photos too).

Seeing the smiley faces of my kids next to my bed was the highlight of the day
#wemustfindacure - Yolanda Foster. She was recently interviewed by the Dutch tv about her Lyme disease situation, which was very similar to Saar's. Saar has EDS-syndrome as well, so we don't know if she's ever able to walk again (like Yolanda)...

Under Our Skin | The Hidden Story of Lyme Disease

Under Our Skin | The Hidden Story of Lyme Disease

woensdag 9 oktober 2013

Search for photos from the heart

Which 'Kodak Moment' gave you the ULTIMATE feeling of HAPPINESS when you took it? Was it that tropical sunset or the tiny face of your newborn baby, or? I'd like to see that photo, and share it as well.  It's not about the best or most beautiful photo, it's about the ultimate feeling of happiness you've experienced when you took that photo. A true photo from the heart. ♥

When you don't like to upload via Facebook: ONE photo per person. Thank you!

Photos from my heart: to capture Saar's happiness

dinsdag 8 oktober 2013

Dear Lissy,

this week I was told that you are suffering from a defect of the thyroid gland, next to your allergies and asthma... dear sunshine, we love you so much and we feel very sorry for you ♥

you had to go through a big series of tests in the hospital, but were a true hero ♥

With her mother Saar it's getting worse.

Her peg sonde had to be removed due to a severe infection. She's in more pain than ever before and has lost more weight, now to a critical level.

I am so glad that I could take these precious pictures of her and her family on vacation - I'd love to come again soon! But what a shame, all money's gone... no more funds to pay for my train ticket... And I don't get paid leave, so we will have to ask you to HELP us to get to Sarhea and her family.

Next to sharing her illness, she's also sharing her happiness, and by doing so she inspires many. You can send money to IBAN: NL41ABNA0607286849 en de BIC: ABNANL2A

There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations.

Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled.

If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can't buy.

'Today is a gift, that is why it is called The Present.'

donderdag 22 augustus 2013

How to take a #selfie

"Check out my transformation! It took me 15 minutes. Wanna know my secret? Well firstly I ditched the phonewallet (fwallet) cause that shit is lame, swapped my bather bottoms to black (cause they're a size bigger & black is slimming),

Smothered on some fake tan, clipped in my hair extensions, stood up a bit taller, sucked in my guts, popped my hip- threw in a skinny arm, stood a bit wider #boxgap, pulled my shoulders back and added a bit of a cheeky/Im so proud of my results smile.

Zoomed in on the before pic- zoomed out on the after & added a filter. Cause filters make everything awesome.

What's my point? Don't be deceived by what you see in magazines & on Instagram.. You never see the dozens of other pics they took that wernt as flattering. Photoshop can make a pig look hotter then Beyonce."

So says MelVFitness' Hidden truths behind a transformation pic.

zondag 18 augustus 2013

Cranky Old Man

Via Facebook I read a poem 'Cranky Old Man' and wanted to share it.
Looking for the original poem, I stumbled upon the following:

Message circulating via social media and email claims that a touching poem about growing old called "Cranky Old Man" was found in the possessions of an old man who died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in an Australian country town.

This is an Australian version of several older stories that have circulated in the United States and the UK for many years. The stories attached to this version of the poem are fictional. The scenario described in the message did not happen and the poem was not found in the belongings of an old man in a nursing home as claimed. The poem itself has a long and somewhat obscure history. The original version featured an old woman rather than an old man and is sometimes attributed to English nurse Phyllis McCormack who reportedly penned it in the 1960's. The "old man" version of the poem was apparently adapted from the original by David L. Griffith of Texas and can be seen in its original context on the poet's website.

What a great poem still! And so very suitable to publish on SPIRITUS. "The poem may actually have been written by Phyllis McCormack in 1966, who at the time was working as a nurse in a Scottish hospital."
It's about to SEE another human being. To SEE is all it takes.
Well, being a ZIENer (zien is to see in Dutch), I couldn't agree more!

Crabbit Old Woman

What do you see, nurses what do you see

Are you thinking when you are looking at me

A crabbit old woman, not very wise,

Uncertain of habit, with faraway eyes,

Who dribbles her food and makes no reply

When you say in a loud voice --I do wish you'd try

Who seems not to notice the things that you do

And for ever is losing a stocking or shoe,

Who unresisting or not, lets you do as you will

With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill

Is that what you are thinking, is that what you see,

Then open your eyes, nurses, you're not looking at me.

I'll tell you who I am as I sit here so still,

As I used at your bidding, as I eat at your will,

I am a small child of ten with a father and mother,

Brothers and sisters who love one another,

A young girl of 16 with wings on her feet

Dreaming that soon now a lover she'll meet;

A bride at 20 -- my heart gives a leap,

Remembering the vows that I promised to keep

At 25 now I have young of my own

Who need me to build a secure, happy home;

A women of 30 my young now grow fast,

Bound to each other with ties that should last,

At 40 my young sons have grown and are gone;

But my man's beside me to see I don't mourn;

At 50, once more babies play around my knee.

Again we know children, my loved one me

Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead,

I look at the future, I shudder with dread,

For my young are all rearing young of their own

And I think of the years and the love that I've known.

I'm an old woman now and nature is cruel

'tis her jest to make old age look like a fool.

The body it crumbles, grace and vigor depart,

There is now a stone where once was a heart

But inside this old carcass a young girl still dwells

And now and again my battered heart swells

I remember the joys I remember the pain,

And I'm loving and living life over again.

I think of the years all too few - gone too fast,

And accept the stark fact that nothing can last.

So open your eyes, nurses open and see

Not a crabbit old women look closer - see me.

My grandmother and me - 19 October 1997, nursinghome - telling her Hans and I got married

Yes my sweet grandmother, I SEE you. I see you, hear you, am you. ♥ Everdina Driessen-van Bon, RIP. (she died not long after this photo)

woensdag 14 augustus 2013

Mood boards for wedding photography ...or better not?

....It’s incredible how Pinterest has taken the wedding industry by storm. My husband and I have always been, and still are, big supporters of Pinterest. It has been such an incredible tool for our business and has helped so many brides find our work. It can be a great place for brides to gather wedding ideas, color schemes, flowers they love, etc. It wasn’t until recently though, have we started seeing the negative affects of Pinterest on wedding photography.

Pinterest can discourage the creative process, as states above photographers via Petapixel.

we can and are able to (re) create all #pinterest wedding images, as long as clients pay us for it... and THERE'S the problem... like the bride on the bed mentioned in the article. That's a completely styled moment, like an ad, with no real documentary moment in it, but a well thought concept.
When I make quotes for weddings like this, my clients are shocked. But they do bring in a mood board and yes, then the budget is like those for a commercial shoot in an advertising campaign: multiple the quote of a documentary wedding... is willing to shoot any wedding, anywhere in the world, € 1500,- per day + travel expenses. Also if you are really looking for something different, out of the box images. Or perhaps a Trash The Dress shoot afterwards? Been there, done that, multiple times.
We are flexible, out going photographers who are experienced and we will guarantee perfect wedding album photogrpahy. Based in the Netherlands, but we are working world wide.

zondag 11 augustus 2013

HALF - redhead portraits by MeRy

HALF - e-book € 4,99 - 42 pages of redhead portraits
The Dutch redhead gathering days are coming again soon!
Finally I've finished my e-book with the portraits I took last year. We love ginger!

dinsdag 30 juli 2013

Dutch Art for sale

Kinderdijk - windmills of the Netherlands
Art for sale via

Kinderdijk, the Netherlands - Dutch mills captured on Impossible instant PZ film (previous Polaroid) - one of a kind photograph in black & white sepia tone. Typical Holland, artistic view of fine art photographer Melanie Rijkers of from Breda. Backlight. Clouds. Landscape. Water. Windmill. Creative. Image. Dutch heritage.

donderdag 25 juli 2013

Ansel Adams

Moonrise, Hernandez - Ansel Adams

Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico is a photograph by Ansel Adams, taken late in the afternoon on November 1, 1941, from a shoulder of U.S. Route 84. The photograph became so popular and collectible that Adams personally made over 1,300 photographic prints of it during his long career.

On October 17, 2006, Sotheby's auctioned a print of this photograph for $609,600
Art historian H. W. Janson called this photo "a perfect marriage of straight and pure photography".(Wikipedia)

maandag 24 juni 2013

Redhead days 2007 - 2012

BREDA - I'd love to see these letters as big art in my city... 

As you probably already know, I am a huge fan of natural redheads. They are so beautiful! In 2007 I got contaminated with the Ginger virus by Bart Rouwenhorst's first redhead day in Breda.

Tineke, 2007 - Red-On-Red
Early 2007 I made a series of commercial photos to help Bart to promote the redhead day later that year. Next to the photo of him lying down covered with the hair of 11 gordeous redheads, I did a first try out with the Red-On-Red concept. I was stunned by the results, it really works great!

1 September 2007 I was able to take over a 100 portraits during the event. I had no idea that I'd get so much reactions to my work, like: "you can't wear red as a redhead" but also: "because of your photo from now on I'll be proud of my red hair"...

I've retouched the 2007 images and made this new Red-On-Red (e)-book in 2012.

I chose Red-On-Red as it's an abundance of the most beautiful colour in the world: red. Drs. Tim Wentel even mentioned my series in his lectures during the redhead days of 2012! Stating that in this way "the red comes out best" ... Yes, he really said it, and illustrated his words with my photos. At the exact same moment I was taking portraits off-festival, in the Huis of Beelcultuur in the Reigerstraat. I created 'Half' and, by request: new Red-On-Red portraits!

It was really cool to create new portraits of the (same) redheads, amazing they keep getting back to have their picture taken, by me! I love you all!!

In 2008 more photographers were asked to come and shoot TFP. Lucky for us we had a spot inside, as the weather was very bad.

My partner Hans and I created 'Medusa', portraits of natural redheads with long hair, laying down, so we could transform the hair into shapes, art.

The 2007 Red-On-Red photos couldn't be part of the art exhibition in the Grote Kerk though, so we printed some and showed these at the temporary studio that day.

In 2009 we were too busy with our own event, Trash The Dress, "99+ Brides running into the sea", so we had to skip the redhead days.

Medusa - redhead days Breda, 2008

Red hair unites. Next to individual portraits Hans also made group photos of friends and/or family members.

In the end of 2009 I made infraRED, a series of Black&White portraits of redheads. A lot of models returned to our studio and were quite happy not the be in the crowd, waiting, but were able to come in by appointment and pose in a very relaxed way.

InfraRED has two front covers and no real back. Halfway through the book you'll have to flip it, as the B&W pics stop and the original colour photos begin, but these are upside down. All models are in the book twice, once in B&W, once in colour. I used the infrared technique to get 'under' their skin, so does infrared light really make wreckles dissapear? Another question was 'Is it obvious the models are redheads when you look at the B&W photos?"

I had a fab time, meeting a lot of my earlier models again, also the book infraRED is the biggest size book I ever made with redhead portraits.

Photobook 'infraRED' -  model: Roelie
Roelie in 2007 (left) and 2009 (top). Roelie has two sisters and a brother, who finally was able to pose for me in 2011.

After having discoverd my old Polaroid camera again, I wanted to experiment  with instant film (old and new Polaroid/Impossible Project film), with slidefilm cross process developed, and with my D700 Nikon camera. Which technique will show off the red colour of the hair best?

Fair is fair: digitaal wins, on all counts. Polaroid pics aren't bright at all, they lack colour and the once so very special 'bright coloured' cross processed analog film, well... it wasn't so special anymore. It just didn't do the trick.

Red Twins Anne and Malou - Redhead Days 2011 - bREDa
And how lucky I was to get the redhead twin Anne & Malou finally to pose for me, and they are so right being on the cover of my 2011 photobook 'Red'. By their duo photos I was inspired to create 'Half', portraits of half redheads chopped in 'half', with their front & back in one photo.

Five years after my first redhead day, it's done, and I am ready to stop my search for special redhead portraits ...But like Sean Connery says, I might as well 'Never Say Never' ;)

Roelie, 2012

There's one more thing, when being in Amsterdam in 2010 I again noticed the letters iAmsterdam. Tourists just love to pose with them. So ever since I figured: we need sort of same spot in my city too. Being the host of such a great event, 3500+ redheads who promote the city...don't you just want them all to pose with BREDA???

iAmsterdam - Polaroid, Feb. 2010

maandag 10 juni 2013

Your SPIRITUS portrait


SPIRITUS portrait - would you like one yourself? Melanie is in SF often and can be booked by appointment to create your own SPIRITUS memory portrait. Bookings/inquiries:

vrijdag 24 mei 2013

One Day (We'll Be Old)

Spiritus tries to capture stories of our elders. Kary and I want to make a documentary about the elderly of today, what do they have to tell us. Storytelling that gives you goosebumps.

zondag 12 mei 2013

Creative Cloud by Adobe

Adobe's Creative Cloud, euro versus dollar ...
Read something about the new way to use Adobe software from now on: from the Creative Cloud. The only thing you need is internet and you can access the software anywhere in the world.

But what if you don't have a working internet connection? Then you can't work with the software?

And what about the price. In Europe/the Netherlands it's more expensive to access/use apps from the Creative Cloud then from the US. Why? The product is the same, world wide. Then why isn't the price???

In dollars the Photoshop app if you already have Photoshop CS3 or up, $ 9,99 - in euro it's € 12,29. If you don't have CS3 or up it's $ 19,99 or in euro € 24,59 per month.

But to buy $ 9,99 in euro we pay 7,69..!

meaning when paying in euro we pay 5 to 10 euro more per product, as $ 19,99 is € 15,39 (not 24,59)... it might be cheaper for us to pay in dollars?? But...I don't think yo can use the e.g. Dutch version then, think you're stuck with the English version when doing so.
Which to us Dutchies isn't so bad, as we all speak English pretty well. But dunno about the French or Germans...

Also: if you are a first time use of e.g. Photoshop and you're going to use it for let's say 4 years, and want to quit. Then you've paid 12x 24,59 = 295,08 (+ TAX) x 4 = 1180,32 but... you didn't get anything.
A retail disk with Adobe Photoshop CS6 is also about 1000 euro... but then you have a product.

...welcoem to the Dutch Creative Cloud by Adobe

A felow photographer wrote:

"Yeah, big companies want codependency - do you know why? The software development is nearly finished, and with no better version to sell... they want to sell you a subscription, otherwise they run out of business in 5 years...

It's like a hammer. If you have one, you have one, simple as that. You  aren't going to lease or pay for something that's already working..."

The big question is, how long will the software work fine? CS 5 and CS6 are more than ok, so I don't need a subscription. But... when Nikon or Canon developes a new DSLR, with new, bigger, better, improved RAW files...when do I need an Adobe update?
I've always hated that.
E.g. not being able to open Nikon D3 Raw files with Photoshop CS2. Adobe just never did an update, so you were forced to get CS3 or higher.

Hate the secret collaboration to keep the price up...annoying! 

So if anyone of you, dear readers, knows about a good alternative to Photoshop, please let me know. or write a comment below. Am willing to test all suggestions and share the outcome!

dinsdag 7 mei 2013

Trash The Dress Photography - recommendation

Alexander Tromp has recommended your work on LinkedIn.

"When I read about PUUR and Trash The Dress 9-9-9 in Dutch Media I started following MeRy and her work through her website and social media. What mostly fascinates me in her work is the way in which she can transform creative ideas into photographic projects and is able to execute these, especially when they concern a lot of people to be photographed - be it a series of individual portraits or a mass photoshoot.

I have gotten to know MeRy personally taking part as a photographer in Trash The Dress 10-10-10, 11-11-11 and 20-5-12 and some other photographic activities.

MeRy has been able to establish a very healthy business while never losing the artistic viewpoint out of sight. A very pleasant person to be around and communicate with. She is looking way beyond the commercial aspect of professional photography, social, artistic and even spiritual aspects are very important to her too. Photography is not just her chosen instrument as an artist, she is working hard to take photography to a higher level."

Thank you so much Alexander!

Trash The Dress 2012 - Photo: Shot by Robin

zondag 5 mei 2013

5 May 1945 Victory Day

The instrument of surrender signed at Reims on 7 May 1945
Breda, the Netherlands,
5 May 2013.

I live in peace.

I live in freedom.

Freedom of speach. Freedom of religion. Freedom TO BE WHO YOU ARE.

I am free to love who I love, to marry who I love.

I thank all our liberators for all they did to make Europe, the Netherlands free country again.

On May 4 we remember the dead, at the Nationale Dodenherdenking commemorating all civilians and members of the armed forces of the Kingdom of the Netherlands who have died in wars or peacekeeping missions since the outbreak of World War II. The last part of the Netherlands was liberated May 5, 1945.

dinsdag 2 april 2013

The Hardest Thing For People is to See Themselves

"The Hardest Thing For People is to See Themselves"

That's why we are here to help you SEE.

Being a professional photographer, we look at the world differently. I see things, details, moments. Capturing these moments makes me very, very happy. And this happiness I'd like to share with you.

Do you need a (positive) mirror? That'll help you think more positive of yourself?
Book a photoshoot.

$ 250,- ex. travel costs + expenses, able to take photographs worldwide.

Eye Opener: or how a life changes after becoming handicaped...

donderdag 21 maart 2013

Baby Elijah & Saar

Elijah 1 :)
                                      Family happiness

Exhausted Saar, 17 March 2013, birthday party for baby Elijah, turning 1....

My dear Lord, it's so unfair!

Now Saar is back home from the nightly rush into the Bonn hospital, and was she able to live with her family again and be part of Elijah turning 1.

But now what? How will it end? Nobody knows... she's off the anti-biotics, what's next? The Lyme bacterias take over??? Goosebumps when I think of the outcome! Dear Saar, having to go through all this suffering! Lyme sucks big time!

I'd like to go to her again, comfort her, and be there with my camera. 
Please, can you help us?

We're also creating a book series where we're going to use a lot of Saar's own pictures, like in this post.

Photography is therapy, and YOU CAN help us:

If you'd like to support Saar and her family, please donate via Paypal

*** God bless you all ***

or IBAN: NL41ABNA0607286849 + BIC: ABNANL2A if you want to pay via online banking.

17 maart 2013, Saar suffers, you can see it in her eyes, happy birthday Elijah or not...

donderdag 14 maart 2013

Laughter and Tears

Kary McElroy &Melanie Rijkers
Tomorrow morning I leave for San Francisco again. After a wonderful and inspiring talk with artist Lenneke te Kiefte and her beautiful sayings as 'I am slow art' I leave for an event on Monday, in sunny California. I am 'Fast Art' LOL, always on the move. Hopefully Lenneke and me can create some more beautiful things in the future! I just love her Weefs!

Will be in SF only for a few days, and fly back Monday night via New York. Still: I love it! Kary invited me to come and stay at her house, so we can work on our project Spiritus. We want to document life's stories, told by the elders of our society. I worked with elderly people before, Pluspunt film & photo project, where grandparents told their stories to their grandchildren.

We hope to be interviewing inspiring elders this weekend! And hopefully we can use our footage and photos to fund a project via Kickstarter, as we really'd like to make a film, and a book.

Before I've documented the house of Tantetje, where my book is a portrait of Tantejte (Auntie) even though she's not in one of my pictures! The house = Tantetje's portrait.
Tantetje's kitchen
The snow is blowing around my Dutch office at the moment, hopefully I'll be back safe 'n sound next Wednesday! My job to document another EyeFor Travel event's on Monday, just love to work for them, as the lectures are always interesting.

I'll be using Instagram too, and will share event photos on the spot via social media. Why do DSLR cameras don't have wifi or apps!!! Nikon, Canon, come on, please make a 'slow' version of the D700/800 with wifi & apps, so I can work with better quality Instagram event photos, as my commissioner really loves these too.

iPhonography is fast and simple, love it!

Ans people like Saar too, for her her iPhone and Whatsapp is the only way to communicate with the outside the world. Her boy Elijah will turn one this weekend!! I will stay in touch by Whatsapp, even with a strange time difference we keep apping, right Saar?? When I was in Bali and she lay awake at night we apped too :) Love it!

Saar keeps photographing herself, and we want to make a set of books, as her story, there's the word again, STORY, is so worthwhile sharing.

I am not a storyteller myself, but the English word documentator is.. me! (in Dutch this word doesn't exist)

It fits ZIENer en ImageFinder :)

Saar in Bonn
Saar. She keeps taking a lot of photos, as she now knows it helps her. Like I suggested Marije to do so too, Saar and/or her caretakers will take photos of everything.
Saar is home again, after half a night in Bonn's intensive care. She feels she doens't belong there, and was also shocked by the way the hospital was starting their own medical plan, instead of sticking to the one the German Lyme specialist has created. She apped me 'Mel, I will go home now, just signed the release form that it's my own responsibility to leave the hospital.' Wow. Heavy stuff


E.g. she's allergic to the glue of the heartmonitor sticky-thingies, and still they put them on her...
Annoying!!! After more than one near-death experience and numerous epileptic seizures she's done.  Saar's tired of it all.

She only wants to be home with her kids, and stated: 'I've been saying goodbye for a while now, from now on the only thing I want is to enjoy (the rest of my life).' RESPECT to this little brave lady.

I've said my goodbyes to her too, and now I am not so sad anymore. Like when she was rushed to Bonn, I kept apping her her photos, so she at least could have a look.

Laugther and Tears are woven in Life.

Dear reader, please enjoy every day, as life is short!

woensdag 13 maart 2013

Saar & me 2

Last week I finally had the chance to go to Saar again. Sarhea's mom drove to the German clinic together with Saar's son Elijah. If the photos are too small, you can click on one and browse through bigger sized photos.

The German clinic is specialised in Lyme disease, the docters live near the clinic and walk in and out all day. Patients rent an appartment, quite big, so you don't sleep in a ward. The weather was perfect, sunny, 19 degrees Celcius. Nutella had opened the balcony door and we were happy to be there, all together enjoying the day.
Ofcourse Saar now wanted to go outside, on the small balcony. Yes, a quick smoke too. And Nutella, strong, strong Nutella, she lifts Saar from bed to bed, to toilet, to balcony. Wow. Respect to this brave little lady!

Elijah wants the oxygen tube
Sweet baby, but exhausting too...
Saar has a hospital bed, but also likes to sleep in the big bed, together with Nutella. Cuddling and hugging, Saar needs it a lot. It must be so frustrating for her, to be in bed for over 2,5 months. She's such a vivid and alive person normally...

'I'm sitting on the balcony for the very first time Mel!' she says cheerfully. It's a beautiful day. We're alle enjoying it. 'I am having a good day' she says, knowing we're coming gives her energy. Later she'll be exhausted.
This is what we can do, for her. This is what WE can give her, and that's so very special.

Horror-hour starts...
There's the Doctor...everyone has to leave the room. 'I don't want them (her closest family like mom and son) to see me like this.' Saar tried to explain, the antibiotics are the worst. She needs 3 different morfines to fight the pain. The ab (antibiotics) drip into her vains and reach the bad cells right away.

Her inflammated brainstem, all the vains in her whole body, everything experiences pain. It's the fight of
Neuro Borreliose Lyme with ab. Holey Jesus, she's in severe pain...

I am speechless, but I keep watching her, with my camera. In the arms of Nutella she screams in pain, cramping and stretching all over. 'Mel, this is true hell, 10 times worse then when delivering a baby' (her son will be 1 year old next weekend).


I need to stay, she wants me to. I don't want to leave her anyway, not like this. I want to hold her, caress her, comfort her, try to take the pain away. She has to go through this very day, for months... how many more??


Untill that annoying bacteria is gone, gone from her body.
Only then Saar can be free, and happy again.

Saar cramps, having severe pains...
My God, powerless we are. How small I felt, witnessing all this happening to this little strong girl.
 RESPECT in big letters.

'Mel, sometimes I stop breathing, I do 'uh, uh, uh' and then my breathing stops'... excuse me?? She told me this as if it's not very important. Now she lays there, drugged by morfine, shouting in pain. The drip has to GO, GO, GO! But it can't and Nutella sings Saar her song.
So happy with smartphones, this way Saar can listen to her favorite music while in pain, let music comfort her. Tella has tears in her eyes.

Is the damn drip finally empty?? No, it's not...

I hide behind the pole with the drips, capturing Saar's face, screaming with pain. Got it, so beautiful, so ugly. I don't want this! (for her) I do want to document it! (for her) And then I feel I am done. Saar keeps wriggling in and out of Nutella's arms, I want to sit with her on the bed and put down my camera.


Nutella tries to tell me to take a pillow when holding Saar, and after a while I get it, your own body cramps too, when holding Saar firmly, avoiding her to pull out the drip. NO, Saar has 100 times more pain than me, I stay put. Nutella sees Saar is okay in my arms and goes outside to have a quick smoke to release her tension.

21 Years old. And Saar's biggest support in the daily horror-hour, as I call it from now.

Go girl, I am here, Saar's in good hands.

Then Tella also takes a few pics of me and Saar....


Again she plays Saar's favorite songs and then Saar says 'Tella, take a walk when it's done!' When the medicine's finally in, she can go out for a while, leaving Saar in my arms. And I caress her like a baby.

We sit there, Saar half sleeping, while it's getting dark outside.

She has to go through this every day.

All these pains because of an infection by such a small bug!

The bite wasn't recognized as being a tick bite. 'You're pregnant' (and experiencing pregnancy itches, this was the 'reason' for the rash). Ladies, be careful when you're pregnant, take extra care!! Saar now has Neuro Borreliose phase 3. Most damaging, most painfull phase there is...

Her German Doctor says to be patient. But geeee, how long can she sope??

Now and then Saar indeed stops breathing. I can hear her breath and then the uh, uh, uh and it stops. I rub her firmly, come on Saar, breath. And she does. She keeps doing this. Did she tell me coz she knew this would happen? So I wouldn't be scared?
Nutella asks are you going to be ok when I'm out. Yes, do go walk for a bit,Tella is taking care of Saar 24/7. Sometimes Saar wakes up, looks at me with her big space-eyes. Tiny black pupils 'I see 6 eyes Mel, one on your forehead, two on your cheeks and one on the chin' she says.

Poor Saar.

Pierewiet (her diseased bird) is there, an owl sits on her bed and a giraffe is there as well. She sees the whole zoo appear, so it seems. And still she asks 'Mel are you comphy? If you need another pillow you must say so.' So, so very ill, and still taking care of others.

Now it's a week later.
Saar's just been transported to the hospital in Bonn.

I don't think she'll make it this way.

God, how I hope I am wrong.
But she's a wreck, finished with all the pain, done.


Tick bite causing Lyme
Saar sent this photo to me a few times. The red dot in the top photo was the tick bite.
She has this red rash for half a year and NOBODY thinks of LYME. WTF?!?

Now she's phase 3. Not good. We don't know if she will survive this, and when she does, how. She apps, 'Mel, I don't care how I survive, I just want to survive. I want to go home and enjoy my kids. Even if it takes a wheelchair for me to take them to school.'

My dear sweet Saar, mother of two beautiful kids, wife of a beautiful man and daughter of a lovely mother. We all love you. And miss you already.