Diary of a Widower

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

Formulating a new farewell

WEDNESDAY, September 8 – While I was doing the ironing this morning, I caught myself formulating words of farewell. Working out which arguments carry the most weight, I was thinking about how, at some point in the near future, I would explain to my colleagues why I can’t go on like this. How I would be resigning as deputy editor-in-chief, for the simple reason that combining a demanding job with raising my children is not a realistic option.

I’ll need more time to arrive at that conclusion, but the indicators signs don’t lie which explains why expressions like ‘Thank you and the very best of luck!’ are already circling through my head.

That made it somewhat surrealistic when, later that day, I got a phone call with the offer of a new job. It was a confidential request:  would I be interested in a position as editor-in-chief of a journalistic organization elsewhere in the country? Extremely flattering.  Indeed, an honor. Apparently, I haven’t been sitting around twiddling my thumbs, despite the fact that in the past year I haven’t been that visible. But how important is my journalistic career in comparison with my role as a father? My answer: totally unimportant.

This means that I cannot accept their offer. I only considered doing so for that one but serious second. Unthinkable actually. For one thing, it would mean moving, but even more important is the fact that I would have to devote myself to a new job for the full hundred percent. Impossible. Not an option.

Moreover, my loyalty to NOS News is enormous. I want to show that I can make my work a success in Hilversum. I am grateful to all my colleagues for their understanding, for their readiness to take over much of my work load and above all for their humanity, which has allowed me to mourn unbridled, both inside and outside working hours. That has been an enormous incentive to remain there.

And then, before I know it, I hear myself murmuring tearful words of farewell. What the fuck? Why do I make everything into an ‘all or nothing at all’ issue?  Try to keep your cool, Overdiek.

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