Diary of a Widower

Daily entries by a husband, who stayed behind with his two sons

It could always be worse

THURSDAY,  May 13, 2010 – A plane crash in Tripoli, Libya. Seventy Dutch passengers killed. It’s all over the news. Shocking news, which I try to shield the children from.  Eamonn sees the news anyway and asks: ‘Tripoli … is that far away?’

Yes, it’s far away. The geographical distance gives him a sense of security. Until he hears that a nine-year-old boy named Ruben is the only survivor of the crash. I do my best to keep the photos from him since the intensive care unit in that far-away hospital is identical to the one Mom was hooked up to in the hospital here in Amsterdam.

We end up talking about Ruben that evening when we go out to dinner. Sander’s friend comes along, and he describes the incident down to the last detail. I can see Eamonn thinking. That means that Ruben is the same age as I am and he’s just crashed in an airplane and is lying in a hospital. Not only his mother is dead, but also his father and his brother.

For a moment he’s silent. ‘That means that what’s happened to him is even worse than what we are going through,’ he concludes. ‘I guess you could say that,’ I concur with relief. Every cloud has a silver lining.

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