It is Wednesday five years ago that flight MH17, from Schiphol en route to Kuala Lumpur, was shot out of the sky above Eastern Ukraine. On Wednesday afternoon there is an official commemoration near Schiphol. A difficult moment for the relatives of the victims of the MH17 disaster. "I can't imagine I haven't seen them in five years."
"Five years, but it really feels like yesterday," says Silene Fredriksz. In the MH17 disaster, she lost her 23-year-old son Bryce and his 20-year-old girlfriend Daisy.
"Of course you realize it is now five years ago, but it is still so close. I can't imagine I haven't seen them in five years."
Fredriksz falls silent for a moment when she remembers the 17th of July in 2014. The day her son and daughter-in-law went flying for the first time and the day after which her life would never be the same again. But she still wants to tell her story. "I notice that that's good and it keeps you busy," she explains.
"Get worried here, that was the last thing I said to them"
"I went to work a little before 7 a.m. I had embraced Bryce and Daisy and said," Have fun, take good care of each other and let yourself be worried here in the Netherlands. " That is the last thing I said to them. " Fredriksz drops a silence and apologizes. "I'm still shaking."
Bryce Fredriksz and Daisy Oehlers would fly to Indonesia; a vacation they had received from Bryce's parents. A moment of relaxation was the goal for the young couple, after a hectic period in which Daisy's mother had died.
Bryce thanked his mother later that day with some apps, and after Fredriksz left work in the afternoon, she thought about tidying up the room that belonged to Bryce and Daisy - the couple lived with Fredriksz and her husband. She didn't do it because she "would still have four weeks to do it."
Bryce Fredriksz and his girlfriend Daisy Oehlers died in the MH17 disaster.
"I knew immediately: something is wrong here"
She quickly moved on to a work barbecue, where she had stopped her phone. "My daughter tried to call me there. I had 150 missed calls," says Fredriksz. "At a certain point my husband reached me through a colleague. I knew immediately: something is wrong here. He could only scream and shouted that they had crashed."
Together with a colleague, Fredriksz searched for news items about the downed device. "We indeed saw that a plane had crashed and that it was from Malaysian Airlines. Then I knew and the ground fell from under my feet."
After Fredriksz was brought home by a colleague, she found a house full of family and friends. "I couldn't cry and was in shock."
"In fragments the awareness comes in"
After that, hectic days began for her and her family. "It was chaos at the time. In fragments the awareness comes in and you can cry for a while, but then you go back to the survival mode."
It also took a long time for the remains of Fredriksz's son and daughter-in-law to be found. "After six weeks we were informed that they had found Bryce's foot. It was completely burned. Only after three months did they find a piece of Daisy's hip. Also burned completely. They came back in pieces. It's just terrible."
65Investigation team shows faces of four MH17 disaster suspects
"They are always in my head"
Now, five years later, not a day goes by that Fredriksz doesn't think about her dead son and his girlfriend. "They are always in my head. There are less than five minutes that I don't think about them."
Bryce and Daisy's room, which Fredriksz wanted to clean up before the disaster, is still intact. "It is still their room. Sometimes I still think: come back, even if you know in your head that that does not happen", says Fredriksz.
She opens the door of the room every morning and then says "good morning" and every evening she closes the door of the room again. "Occasionally I sit down and talk to Bryce and Daisy. Where we go, what we do."
"Sometimes I ask if they want to come into my dream for a while. That happens occasionally and is then very realistic. Then it is as if they have been visiting. Other times it is nightmares in which they are imprisoned or die. "
Silene Fredriksz speaks to the international press. (Photo: ProShots)
Suffer from psychological complaints and traumatic grief
Five years after the aircraft was brought down over Eastern Ukraine, the loss for Fredriksz became "worse and worse". She still suffers from psychological complaints and she suffers from traumatic mourning. "We're actually just in the middle of it."
"I try to keep the grief at a distance as much as possible. For example, I avoid looking at pictures of Bryce and Daisy. I can only look at those pictures briefly. Sometimes I try to do it for a while, but when I look at those eyes you get sucked into that photo and my heart breaks again. That feeling then stays the whole day. "
Of course life goes on, says Fredriksz. "But in a sense, our lives have stood still for the past five years. I can't imagine I haven't seen them for five years. It still feels like it's not true."
See also: Aftermath of MH17 disaster causes mourning problems for relatives