Ever since she was born Liesje didn't stand a chance. When she dies at the age of 11, her parents are left behind speechless. Those 11 years were spent living intensely with a daughter with a severe disability, with the entire family, and with the prejudice of the environment. More than ten years after the death of his daughter, Pierre Mertens writes down his story. Searching for the meaning of the birth and death of his daughter with Spina Bifida (split spine) words like disability, love, comfort, support, help, solidarity, health care, ethics, euthanasia and abortion take on a new meaning to him.
Pierre Mertens (1953) is a psychotherapist and visual artist. Shortly after the death of his daughter he wrote the well-received "Tulips in November", a gripping story of his encounter with a dementede woman he met during an art project. Soon after the birth of his eldest daughter he and his wife started a self help group for people dealing with Spina Bifida. Now he is chairman of the International Federation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus, in which capacity he is actively involved in improving the treatment of children with this disability in developing countries.