THANOS magazine

Belgium | November 13, 2023

We wrote their names in the sand…

By Johan Dexters, Chairman of Funebra and Second Vice President of FIAT-IFTA

Death makes you sad. With All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day in the Western world and the Day of the Dead (Dia de Muertos) in the (Latin) American world, we celebrate, in the belief that something good is never lost, that gratitude for all those we love so much kept the pain turning into a sweet pain, that a human life continues to be written. These are days to pray for the souls, but also days to commemorate and mourn together for the deceased.

De Panne, known for its extensive beaches and beautiful dune landscapes, was transformed into a city of comfort last October. In this month, which often symbolizes the transition to the cold and dark winter, numerous initiatives took place that offered support and warmth to anyone who needs it, whether it concerns the loss of a loved one, processing grief or simply need human contact.

On October 28, the event “Beach Illuminated, a sea of comfort” took place, organized by the Flemish comfort organization Reveil, which wants to make grief a topic of discussion. The beach and the sea with its beauty and symbolism formed the backdrop. A man's life is like a footprint in the sand that is swept away when the tide shifts the boundary between sea and beach. It became a positive story in which a warm blanket was drawn over the municipality with a resilient approach. More than 100 volunteers, young and old, contributed to the development of this event and all local organizations, from OKRA to scouts, put their weight behind it. Together the community formed a beacon of light and warmth in an otherwise cold and dark month. Congratulations to everyone who contributed in their own way as a bringer of comfort.

The entire coastline of De Panne was illuminated in one evening by placing 10,000 candles on the beach. The names of loved ones who died were written in the sand by relatives. A walk on the beach could clear your head wonderfully. It was like giving your worries to the wind – literally and figuratively letting them blow away.

Ebb and flow. The waves rolling to the beach line and retreating again. There is a movement in the sea that can be found in all of life: breathing in and out, giving and receiving, coming and going, stepping out and turning inward. She reminds us that life is movement.

On the occasion of their 60th anniversary, Funebra, a national member of FIAT-IFTA, is proud to have been able to join this unique European first by Reveil, in collaboration with the municipality of De Panne.

The sea sang its song, the waves danced until they broke on the beach. A gentle wind played on the tracks we left behind in the sand.

After all, sadness can be stormy like the sea, engulfing everything, destroying. But the waves also recede. Space is created again. If tears are allowed to flow, a sea of love is created...


I want to be alone with the sea,
I want to be alone with the beach,
I want to let go of my soul a little,
not my body and my mind.

I just want to dream a little
around the things I feel
and the sea, I'm sure,
that she knows what I mean.

I want to be alone with the waves,
I want to be alone with the sky
I want to listen to my breath,
I want to listen to my sigh.

I want to listen to my silence,
then I will continue
and the sea, I'm sure,
will understand my silence.

Toon Hermans

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