‘Papa, what if you also die?’
MONDAY, November 30 – Shit, shit, shit!!! I screamed my lungs out on the way from Amsterdam to Hilversum. Eamonn couldn’t get going this morning and wouldn’t let me leave the schoolyard. I left him behind, took care of a few things at home, and bought some presents and stuff for the St. Nicholas celebrations on December 5th.
I was in the store when my phone rang. Eamonn. Headache, stomach ache, but basically his heart was bleeding. I tried to be stern, but couldn’t. I promised I would arrange for him to come home early. How? I simply didn’t know, and on the way to work I burst out crying. I swore. Shit, shit, shit!!!
I’d been in the office less than ten minutes, when the phone rang again. Someone from school. Both Sander and Eamonn were now sitting disconsolately in the counselor’s office. All sorts of things were going wrong. Every imaginable complaint had been laid on the table, but behind it all was the pain in their heart- a pain which I shared. I turned to my colleague and said I had to leave.
On the way back to Amsterdam I realized that right now there is no cure for what they are suffering from. The best we can do is to stick together, at home on the couch, battling what fate has sent our way.
15:00 – Sander and Eamonn on the couch, with me in the middle. Frantic attempts to understand it all. But it’s quite simply incomprehensible.
Sander: ‘It’s all true, and I still can’t believe it. That she’s gone forever.’
Eamonn: ‘I think of her every second of the day.’
No one says anything.
Eamonn: ‘Papa, you need a backup.’
Me: ‘What do you mean?’
‘In case you die, too. Someone will have to take care of us.’
‘Do you have someone in mind, Eamonn?’
‘I was thinking of Grandma, or Grandpa.’
‘Or one of your uncles?’
‘But listen: I’m not planning to die in the near future.’
‘I know that.’
Sander: ‘But why Mom? Why her?’