A beautiful story about people we will never forget and Forget Me Not tattoos.
I have known the Noten family since I was about five years old. They were the exotic family who moved to the sleepy town of Market Harborough (my midlands hometown) from Holland. They wore bright clothes, while I was forced to wear school uniform. They talked openly about sex, while I blushed at the thought of a snog. They were different and I instantly fell in love with the whole family and their dutch eccentricities.
At the end of our primary school days, the Notens decided that England was no longer for them. So they packed up and moved back to the land of clogs, bicycles and *whispers* weed. My family and I have never lost touch with them and we remain the best of friends. When we meet up it is like we have never been apart, the drinks and the laughs always flow with ease.
So, when the news came out that Mama Noten (Annemie pictured middle, above photo) had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, everyone whose life she has ever touched was shocked and upset. Although the years have proven tough, Annemie and the Noten family have dealt with her illness with the same spirit they have in life – with passion, with determination and with individuality. Annemie has even had her makeup tattooed on, if she can no longer do her own makeup, then she will ensure she still always looks good.
I met up with them all a couple of weeks ago for Annemie’s birthday. The family drove over to London and all the familiar faces from Annemie’s English past gathered in a pub on the banks of the Thames to surprise her. It was an emotional, but very lovely day. We caught up with each others’ lives and Annemie told me a beautiful story about about how she had always wanted to have matching tattoos with her children (Floor, Marcela and Michael pictured). A simple Forget Me Not flower to ensure that they never forget the bond that they have shared in life. I know that they will never forget Annemie Noten, I don’t think anyone who was ever met her will.
I love you all.