In the summer of 2006, Sanneke’s mother went missing and she was found two months later in her father’s trunk. Her father had killed her mother. Despite everything, Sanneke managed to take back control of her life and her philosophy of life kept her going: You always have a choice.
She wrote a book about it: ‘This only happens in movies’with the aim of inspiring others with her story.
The foundation disappeared
“After the pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostela my mother decided to divorce my father. Two weeks later she went missing. I had a good relationship with both my parents and I had daily contact with them.
My mother thrived in the business she ran with my father and sang in a blues band. She was a real bon vivant, social tiger and a tough chick. I’ve always been very proud of her. My father was more subdued, goal-oriented and had a wonderful Rotterdam sense of humour.
My father killed my mother
There have been some tensions between my parents at home in recent years. I didn’t see that as strange. That’s what happens when two people get divorced, I thought. That it was ultimately my own father who killed her was a big one mind fuck. I didn’t see that coming at all.
My mother was dead, my father had killed my mother and he was in prison. As a result, the foundation disappeared under my feet in one go. Also, this dual perspective was difficult for others to understand, as well child of the victim and of the perpetrator. On appeal he was sentenced to twenty years. Yet I still loved him. That doesn’t suddenly stop.
You always have a choice
I had to arrange a lot, from selling the house to closing my parents’ businesses. I still remember a time when I stood in front of the mirror and said to myself out loud, “You have two choices: go to hell or make something of your life.I consciously chose the latter.
That gave me strength. With my book I want to show others that you always have a choice, no matter how hopeless the situation. Because if you see yourself as a victim, you will also live it. My life seemed like a movie, but I turned out fine myself.
In the years that followed (it has been seventeen years now), friends kept warning me about a so-called blow that I would receive. You’re supposed to deal with something so intense, right? As a result, I braced myself big events in my life, such as my graduation, my thirtieth birthday, my marriage and the birth of my children. That blow failed, however.
I now know that processing is not something you can tick off. When did you process something? It’s super cliché, but time heals many wounds and creates distance. That goes without saying. Therapy didn’t work for me. I used to talk a lot with my friends.
After finishing my book, I said to one of them that it can now be wrapped up and this topic is closed. Then she replied, “No San, we’re going to talk about this for the rest of our lives.” That’s true. It is healthy to keep talking about things that are important to you. Writing a book has also helped me with that.
Music as therapy
In music I can express all my emotion. For example, I spent years every day from work back home in my car singing along to music very loudly and crying a lot. That helped me and it still does. It is not for nothing that every chapter of my book is linked to a music track.
I believe everyone has a way that works. For me that is music, but for the other it can be sport or a certain hobby. The better you know yourself, the better more resilient you become. You have to be willing to work for it.
You are not your backpack
When I tell people about this period in my life, they are initially shocked. Then I quickly get the comment that they had not sought such a thing after me. I have to laugh a little, because what did they expect? A depressed woman? My father’s act does not define who I am. Besides, we all have a backpack. Let’s never judge people by that. You are not your backpack, you are just you. I am Sanne.”
Buy the book here
The book This only happens in movies, my fight after my father killed my mother, by Sanneke Langendoen will be published on May 18. €24.99 publisher GrowingStories.
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