Justine Bakker: Remembering Mats

Intro by Tony Ward,  Copyright 2023


Text by Justine Bakker, Copyright 2023




The first sign was seeing so many blue hearts cascading through my social media feed.  The other sign was that the blue hearts were emanating from the facebook feeds of friends from Amsterdam, Holland. Then it dawned on me what happened.  The son of well known fashion model, Justine Bakker had died.  What a shock. He was just 18 years of age. I didn’t know what happened so I contacted a friend who informed that Mats fell from a balcony at a party on August 7, 2022. It seemed as though from the outpouring of grief and loss the entire city of Amsterdam went into mourning.

Mats was on his way of finding himself immersed in the fashion world just like his mother was when opportunities to model started to come her way.  He was tall, handsome and very photogenic, just like his mom. On July 19, 2022, Mats and Justine modeled together for a Dutch fashion brand.  Mats had arrived.  It was apparent to me and others that Mats had a real shot at big time fashion modeling in Europe. Tragically, all of the possibilities came to an end just 19 days after mother and son modeled together.

Justine Bakker recently stated on social media that she hopes to keep her sons memory alive by sharing some of her writings since her beloved son passed away. 

In Memorium: 

September 18, 2022

How are you ?
An update….
I’m feeling ok.
I don’t feel victim, not pitiful and I don’t need a reason
I feel like I can carry myself, let me be carried.
That I learn to ask and accept help.
That I dare and can be vulnerable,
that I have strength and will to live
And above all, I’m not alone.
My heart feels bigger than ever before.
So much love in and around me.
So much connection and togetherness.
I feel immense gratitude,
and also pain and sadness and fear.
I’m feeling ok. Not good, not bad
Work in progress.
I want to share this because I find it difficult;
not only for me but also for people around me.
I see a gaze, asking for reassurance, confirmation…
Is she ok? Is it real?
I’m experiencing projection and assumptions; she’ll feel some type of way….
It’s impossible to imagine, it’s impossible to understand
I don’t understand it myself, so trying is pointless.
Compare it to we are unique in everything
So I share here publicly how I feel,
that saves me a lot of explanation and repetition πŸ™ƒ
This is how I take care of myself.
I read a message, sending compassion, love
It supports me to experience that I don’t have to do it alone.
That I am seen and loved by so many.
And I also notice that I always feel tempted for answers. My pal.
Not because I have the need to
But because I’ve learned that it’s supposed to,
that is polite and respectful.
Sometimes I don’t feel like being polite.
I feel no space to share my energy…
And at the same time every message fills me with love
And I’ll answer anyway
πŸ’™πŸ’™ is lucky enough! thanks to Mats
And forgive me if I don’t respond, I receive you.
Trying to listen to myself very consciously
And that also requires a lot of peace, quiet and me time.
What do I need what to do good ?
I need to keep my world safe and small
I can’t handle much the world is too big
Too busy, too many stimulus, too much movement.
I dose and learn,
and what feels good today may be different tomorrow.
I need to get to know myself again,
I have no idea who I am anymore (without my rascal).
What do I really want and need?
Where am I? how do I relate to others,
To the world I live in…?
I feel like a naked virgin
Everything is new, and exciting, scary even often.
And especially a lot, a lot. All kinds of things.
So I feel ok. Not good, not bad.
The love and attention I receive gets me through it.
And am approachable, not broken, not scary.
(Oops; my assumption that I’m scary because of my loss)
I laugh and talk, I shut up and I cry, just like you.
I feel compassion and love, even in silence.
I understand there are no words
I don’t have those either, they are missing.
Hugs are gold. (Virtual as well)
I’m carefully taking one step at a time
In my life part 4.
The sweetest thing I would have stayed forever in part 3;
Together with my Mats, my true love.
Unconditional and forever.
It is what it is.
It hurts and is a great loss
And now I’m where I need and want to be.
And I’ll see you again tomorrow.
January 7, 2023
Craving πŸ™
It’s been 5 months today…
5 months that the police were in front of my door.
“Are you Mats’s mother? “
β€œMay we come in for a minute? “
“Mats is dead”…
My biggest fear came true
The world has completely collapsed.
My system totally loose, powerless and panic.
Roots came out of me;
I screamed NO very often and loudly
NAH this pain, I don’t want this, cant do this..
and I felt an intense desire
that it wasn’t so; tell me it ain’t true.
My longing was not quenched.
Now I feel the approaching of my most beautiful day,
the day I gave birth to Mats
In four days, 19 years ago
11 January 2004
There were the same pranks back then as well
From being so deep; so uncontrollable,
being a conqueror of everything. Paralysis and strength together.
NAH this pain, i don’t want this, can’t do this..
and I felt an intense desire
to welcoming our child.
The soul that chose us as parents
and was growing inside me for 9 months.
My cravings were quenched, the pain disappeared
The reward was great;
Mats, a miracle, pure love in our lives.
I have experienced that birth and death are closely connected.
Same roots, the fear, the pain and the longing.
They cannot exist without love.
I would give life again even if I could lose it
The reward, the connection, the joy and love,
that I have received and experienced is so immense and
overshadows all fear and pain.
The saying; ‘Rough is the backside of love’
Is known for a reason, no love no pain.
Wednesday January 11th, Mats would have been 19…
I long to remember the day of his birth.
By keeping quiet and sharing memories.
Preferably together,
with the many that Mats had in his life
have closed in their hearts.
Unfortunately, I can’t handle being physically with a lot of people right now.
I’ll keep it small and intimate for now,  close to me.
It would greatly support and delight me to hear your stories,
anecdotes, images etc. to be heard or read.
I hope you will share this with me and each other
This is how we keep Mats alive together and he will be proud.
My thoughts are with you!
We do it together in our own unique way.
I am mega grateful for all of you around me!

To be continued…..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *