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A spoonful of sugar… in memory of Karen Heijman

On Friday, 8 March, Karen Heijman passed away suddenly. She has been a valuable part of Delft Mama and has touched the lives of many of our members. Read on as Delft Mama Julia Candy shares a sweet memorial in honor of her close friend Karen. Tarja Van Veldhoven also wrote a lovely Delft Mama of the Week blog post about Karen in 2016, which you can find here. Elizabeth Newcamp prepared a video for Karen’s funeral service, which you can view here.

Karen, you and your loved ones are in our thoughts and hearts.

A spoonful of sugar

Karen dressed as Mary Poppins at a DMM Halloween party. PC: Renée Veldman Tentori

Karen loved fall. The rich colours, the delicious food and Halloween. It was a tradition that Karen set out to share with her international DelftMama community. And she did so – brilliantly. And never more so than in the year when she came dressed as Mary Poppins.

For her friends, Karen was Mary Poppins incarnate. Like the film character, Karen possessed an incredible ability to make things happen – as if by magic. Whether she could actually get the toys to jump back in their box with a click of her fingers, I’m not sure, but it sure did seem that way.

Karen’s knack for organisation, was matched only by her creativity and her tenacity. She put these talents to generous use in her community, at work and – most importantly for Karen – at home. Karen adored looking after her beloved Michel and Izzie. She found joy in making her house a home and loved nothing more than nurturing her husband and daughter. Caring for them and cooking for them.

Food was a passion for Karen. Like Mary Poppins she understood the power of a spoonful of sugar. Armed with her trusty Kitchen Aid, Karen loved to conjure up culinary treats. She had a real talent for transforming morsels of something more mundane into the magical. 

Karen would test out a recipe and then experiment to get it just the way she imagined it should look and taste. In a feat of alchemy, Karen would whisk sugar into marshmallows before taking them to a new level: adding an injection of salted caramel and covering her creations in chocolate. It’s a taste I will never forget.

The end of ‘Mary Poppins’ is bittersweet. Having brought joy and laughter to Jane and Michael, the two children, the wind changes and Mary Poppins must leave. As the wind takes her away, Bert calls out to her, “Goodbye, Mary Poppins. Don’t stay away too long.” It is my hope that the many magical memories that Karen created will one day replace the sadness we feel today.

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4 thoughts on “A spoonful of sugar… in memory of Karen Heijman”

  1. Thank you for writing this. I knew Karen since she was fourteen years old. I was her teacher in high school for all four years. She had amazing organizational skills then, too. We reconnected early last year, and I was lucky enough to spend a magical day in London with her, including a fancy tea. A light has gone out of the world.

    1. Dear Pamela,
      DelftMama just brought your comment to my attention. Sorry I didn't see it earlier.
      Karen talked excitedly about her visit to London (both before and after the event). She was excited about the prospect of seeing a bit of London but most of all, about meeting up with you.
      Thank you for everything you did for Karen.

  2. There’s isn’t a prouder father on Earth in seeing my lovely daughter become the person she became. Thank you sooo much for being there for her while she transitioned into motherhood, and into her new life in Delft. Words can never express how grateful I am for your support over these past several years.

    1. Dear Mike,
      Sorry I didn't see this earlier.
      DelftMama is an amazing support for many of us internationals trying to get to grips with parenthood in a new country. Karen was an integral part of the community and gave so much. She is greatly missed.
      Our thoughts are with you.

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