Character Portrait #2: Hettie Paans

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“Mrs. L wore a wig because her anxiety was so bad she tore all her hair out”, said Hettie Paans in the days following Mrs. L's suicide. Hettie was Mrs. L’s only friend. Besides Dr. Polak, she was Mrs. L’s only form of social contact. But Hettie is a doting grandmother with a big family of her own who keep her busy so the contact was not enough to sustain Mrs. L’s well-being. But in their 30+ years of friendship, Hettie has learned a lot about Mrs. L and her tragic history. In the picture above, Hettie is seen at her canal house sitting next to the piano Mrs. L used to play years ago. Before her mental state completely deteriorated, Mrs. L used to play the piano at Hettie’s place. They also used to go to the beach together. Back then, Mrs. L also volunteered at a center for psychosocial support where she met Hettie. But everything changed after Mrs. L’s younger brother killed himself. In I’M NOT AFRAID, Hettie has many stories to share about her dear friend.

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