My mother died when I was 12 years old. I had been sent on a holiday to Indonesia because she had been ill for a while and she was in hospital. Halfway through my trip I was rushed back to the Netherlands. She died the morning of the day I arrived.

As we drove away from Schiphol airport, my uncle stopped the car on the hard shoulder. I had gathered from my relatives’ puffed up eyes that something was very wrong – I think I could guess what it was, but I denied it until they told me.

One last time I saw her. The nurse ushered me into the room where she lay on that hospital bed. I didn’t want to, but I did kiss her forehead when the nurse told me to. She was pale and cold.

I have pictures of myself on the day of her burial. I’m playing with my niece and I’m smiling. I’m wearing the black slacks I had insisted on getting made for me in Jakarta. My aunt thought that was creepy.

I don’t think I fully grasped what was going on or I wouldn’t have been smiling. I probably shut myself off from everything, protecting myself from the pain and avoiding the thought of the gaping hole in front of me. What was going to happen now? Who was going to take care of me?

It’s raining outside, it has been raining for weeks. I’m pissed off and moody. I’m 35 years old, I have learnt to take care of myself. I don’t miss my mother but I wish I knew who she really was.

On my stereo: Echo and the Bunnymen – Ocean Rain