Jacob Haugaard and Ilse Wilmot’s great grief: ‘That it hits one will always be a shock’

It was in 2008 that the hammer of injustice knocked on their door. That the most unbearable thing parents can experience happened to them. That they had to say goodbye to a child.

“It was a shock. That it hits one will always be a shock, “says Jacob Haugaard and his wife, Ilse Wilmot, and then adds:” But at the same time we always knew that he would not get so old, so that way we were prepared. «

When the couple met and became lovers back in 1980, Ilse Wilmot’s two children, Mina and Nicolai, were part of the love package.

The son Nicolai was suffering from muscle wasting and was thus tied to a wheelchair early in his life.


The son Nicolai Wilmot was afflicted with muscle wasting and was bound to a wheelchair early in his life.

The son Nicolai Wilmot was afflicted with muscle wasting and was bound to a wheelchair early in his life.
Photo: Private

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But having a disabled child was not something that strained legs in the couple’s life.

“Shut up what we have not made of wild things,” says Jacob Haugaard with a shake of the head and loud laughter.

“Do you remember… ..?,” He asks Ilse, throwing himself into the anecdote about the time they drove to Spain in their little Citroën with Nicolai and his wheelchair in the back seat, and the car crashed on the road.

Or when they flew to Jamaica to visit Nicolai’s biological grandparents’ father, but ended up on a plane without a respirator, so they had to hand-ventilate him for 12 rigid hours. And for several days after had blisters in his hands.

“If you are disabled, you are often packed too much into cotton wool. But we did not do that with Nicolai. “

»He was in a super league within those muscle scammers because he had experienced so much and could eddermame tell many robbery stories about all the wild things. And it was Ilse who was behind them, “says Jacob Haugaard.


It was because of his son Nicolai that Jacob Haugaard became involved in the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation and for a number of years has hosted the Green Concert.

It was because of his son Nicolai that Jacob Haugaard became involved in the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation and for a number of years has hosted the Green Concert.
Photo: Bax Lindhardt

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The stepson’s illness was also the direct reason why Jacob Haugaard became involved in the Muskelsvindfonden’s work and started as a conference at the foundation’s annual Green Concert.

The lifespan of the type of muscle wasting that Nicolai was affected by was short. In fact, most people die as early as the age of 15-17. Nicolai turned 38.

“So he got a lot of extra years. You also have to remember to think that he has had a wonderfully wonderful life, and that we all in the family liked him very much. “

‘But also remember that he was delivered. He got food through a probe in the end because he could no longer swallow, “says Ilse Wilmot, who feels that they as a family were good at dealing with grief when it tumbled over them.

»It is Ilse who takes care of emotions here in the company. My way of dealing with it was for a whole year to walk the dogs every day over to the gravesite. It was like I got it in place, “says Jacob Haugaard, who for a long time had a hard time believing that Nicolai was actually dead.

For several years, the stepson had often been admitted to intensive care. Each time, Jacob Haugaard prepared for the fact that now it was over.

“So when he died, I was probably inside looking at him five times. Each time, I was convinced that he would rise again. “

‘I think that was why I visited the tomb for over a whole year. Because I thought he would get up again, “explains Jacob Haugaard.

But losing ironically also became his path to the realization of what he actually had and was a part of. A family.


In 2008, Jacob Haugaard and his wife, Ilse Wilmot, had to say goodbye to their son Nicolai.

In 2008, Jacob Haugaard and his wife, Ilse Wilmot, had to say goodbye to their son Nicolai.
Photo: Bax Lindhardt

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Nicolais wanted to be buried in Silkeborg, where he was born, and this led to a conversation about where they themselves should be buried. Which meant that they got a family burial site in Silkeborg. “

“I just remember thinking ‘well, so we’re a family?’,” Says Jacob Haugaard, shaking his head at himself.

“It is not more than 14 years ago that it dawned on me. It was not at all in my calculations that I was actually part of a family. “

For even though he had been married to his Ilse for decades, his inner street boy and his years as an alcoholic had made him think and behave like what he himself calls, ‘a married bachelor’.

“So I was well over 50 before I no longer thought I was happier around the next street corner,” explains Jacob Haugaard about the gift that Nicolai’s death gave him.

He has cherished it ever since.

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