Mark Rutte’s mother died at a nursing home in mid-May in the midst of the corona crisis. Mieke Rutte-Dilling turned 96. She had no corona, according to a test. The virus went around the home where she lived.
Feeling of gratitude
Shortly after her death, Rutte had stated in a statement from the Government Information Service (RVD) that he was particularly grateful. “In addition to the great grief and all the cherished memories, my family and I also have a sense of gratitude that we have had her with us for so long.”
That was nice, Rutte says, but of course it is “completely different” than he liked to do: visit her on weekends with an Indian meal. Rutte had to be with her mother the night before her death. Such was the protocol of the nursing home: a family member could stay with a resident if death was imminent. “My sister was there the day before.”
“And in the meantime, you saved the country,” says Jeroen Pauw. “That combination was really very special,” Rutte admits. After her death, Rutte immediately informed a number of direct colleagues: Hugo de Jonge, Ferd Grapperhaus and some officials he works with every day. He also wanted it kept secret until after the funeral. “I didn’t want photographers to lie in the bushes at her funeral,” the prime minister explains.
How did Rutte manage to continue? He must, he says. “It’s my job. I couldn’t suddenly go off the rails. During that month we were still in the midst of the crisis, there were still many people in intensive care. But what happened in my private life, it was complicated for me.”
Talk a lot about it
Rutte talks a lot to his family members about his mother’s death. In this way he manages to continue throughout the day. But really process it? “I have to think about this again this summer,” he says. “Of course she was old, but still in good shape. She was a proud mother, but also very critical. And she really wasn’t in front of me.”