Wanting to heal trauma, to seek joy, to find faith and meaning came to me as a daughter and granddaughter of a Dutch-American family who lived through the 1930’s and 1940’s. For my parents and grandparents, The Great Depression and World War II, brought trauma and loss.
Those times also produced a finely focused prism illuminating the love of family. I felt that light of love across the three countries we eventually lived in – The Netherlands, Iran and America. I felt that light of love across the three challenges of my family which survived war — to live fully, to love fully, and to tell the story. I feel that light of love to this day across three generations: my grandparents, parents, and us adult children with children of our own.
For thirty years my career has focused on psychotherapy, leadership, life coaching, and public speaking. My personal life focused on family life with my husband, son, stepdaughter and grandsons. My spiritual life focused on the recovery movement and twelve step programs, places of worship and nature.
All of this I have loved, and all along I had an additional true love – writing, EVERYTHING. Just as I once was a kid who read voraciously, I wrote voraciously: self help curriculum, meditations, journals, poetry, newsletters, and more. Most of my writing now focuses on all those generations of light and love described above – the well known aspects of World War II – the European experience under Nazi attack and occupation; and the not well known – the Pacific experience for civilians under Japanese attack and occupation.
My mother’s family, the De Vries family, survived six years of Nazi occupation of The Netherlands (Holland). My father’s family, the Jobsis side, experienced years of suffering after the Japanese invasion of the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). Almost 150,000 Dutch and European children, women and men were held in Japanese Concentration Camps under conditions of brutality, starvation and slave labor. More than 25,000 died.
Like most, my father never told his story, and I felt that loss. Even before I learned that my father and (not all) of his family had survived these camps, I felt the hole in his life. We all did.
I began to research and learn more, and am still on a remarkable journey with my own family and friends. Others have passed along to me networks of memoirs, memories and resources about the Dutch survivors of the Japanese concentration camps. This site is a place to share how all our stories connect, whether fiction, non-fiction, war related or not, in the end the stories are the same: how we live, what we survive, how we thrive.
My mission is showing and shepherding survivors of trauma, as well as seekers of joy, to find faith and meaning in every day life.