Thijs was only 20 when he lost his father. He then fled into drink, drugs and partying. Until his mother found him completely lost in the world in his student house. Now, nine years later, the Tilburg citizen himself becomes the father of a son. “For a long time I thought that I could solve everything myself, but without help I just couldn’t get there,” he says in the Omroep Brabant podcast ‘Op de man af’.
Thijs was 20 when his father died after an illness from metastatic skin cancer. “I was in the middle of life, thoroughly enjoying my student days. And then suddenly your father is no longer there.”
He didn’t show it, but for Thijs it was the start of a lonely struggle, he tells journalists Evie Hendriks and Eva de Schipper in the podcast ‘Op de man af. “Two days after the funeral I heard my friends say that they were going out again. Of course they didn’t ask me that, but then I thought: shit, my father has just died and life goes on as usual for them. Then you really feel like you’re on your own.”
Thijs always thought he was good at talking about his feelings. “Yet I felt that people didn’t know exactly what was going on inside me. I still felt a certain brake.” The grieving process changed him. “I became more closed and started looking for distraction.”
“At one point I thought: what am I doing?”
“At first I went out two or three times a week, then it became even more. Anything to forget that sadness.” In the first episode of ‘Op de man af’, Thijs tells how things went completely out of hand at an afterparty at his home in Tilburg. “We used everything that night and did all kinds of things. I think the last one didn’t go home until around 4:30 in the afternoon.”
Thijs had not heard from him for hours, which made his family worried. “My mother was very concerned. Rightly so,” he says. “She suddenly stood in my studio. There she saw me lying in that mess. I was quite disturbed so I can’t remember that moment anymore. As bad as it was that time, just a week after my father’s funeral. Luckily it never happened again.”
“I was quite confused so I can’t remember that moment.”
Would you like to hear Thijs’s whole story and that of many other Brabant men? Listen to the podcast ‘Towards the man’ via your favorite podcast app. You’ll hear a new episode every Wednesday. You can find these and more podcasts from Omroep Brabant at omroepbrabant.nl/podcast.