Thérèse Steinmetz can finally make room for the loss of great love

After Gerrit den Braber’s death, Thérèse Steinmetz thought she would never sing again. “It has now been twenty-five years since Gerrit died, and not a day goes by that I don’t think of him. Sometimes short, sometimes longer. But he’s actually always with me. Not even I could imagine a life without him. This was also the reason why in 1997, after his death, I went to France and went to live there. I couldn’t stay in the place where we had been so happy together,” the singer tells Story.

Lost husband and daughter

Therese had not only lost her husband. Shortly before Gerrit suffered a cerebral infarction, his daughter Sylvie died of cancer at the age of 39. ‘In France I was far from everyone. I received no pity looks there. I had to learn how to organize my life as a widow. Within a year I had lost my husband and daughter. This won’t leave you with cold clothes. I didn’t want to sing anymore. How could I sing the songs that Gerrit wrote the lyrics for? I could not.’

Paint

To have something to do, Thérèse decided to paint. With success. In Cannes she had her own gallery and her paintings have been exhibited all over the world. ‘Looking back, I think it took me at least seven years to find my footing. But I did. After that I spent wonderful years in France. But even beyond. I have traveled all over the world. I was even allowed to exhibit in New York. I just didn’t sing. He was so attached to Gerrit.’

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Image: Peter Smulders

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