The impossible hospital routine has begun.

On a day that is shortened by a couple of hours - due to commuting to and from the hospital which takes up a lot of time, leaving the actual visit to Kenji pretty brief - a hell of a lot more work needs to be done. Extensive cleaning. Ditto laundry. Making sure everybody's needs are met, but now at two different locations at the same time. Finding a way to squeeze in the bits of work I really can't cancel or postpone. (Work didn't use to be this much in the picture when we dealt with hospitalizations before and it's quite the challenge, to say the least). And comforting the boys.

Somehow, at the age of five-and-half and seven, they have figured out that cancer kills. I told them there are a million ways in which you can die, but obviously that didn't change anything. In their opinion cancer could mean death and how on earth do you know if it won't kill papa sooner or later? The harsh truth is, you don't.

Of course I don't go into details with them. The boys know Kenji is in remission now. They also know that there is a chance that cancer will return, in particular because his body is terribly weakened. What they can't grasp are the specific risks that the absurd concoction of a stem cell transplantation, long term medicine use and graft-versus-host-disease in various organs brings forth. Then again, there are actually few adults who can.

I hug. I kiss. I stroke soft brown hairs. I dry tears. I patiently collect blows, kicks and swear words. I'm relieved that they grieve so openly and turn to me, and Kenji, for comfort.

"Mama, I wish that papa was just like Tom. You know, as in Tom and Jerry. Tom always gets killed or chopped up in many pieces and in the next cartoon, he is alive again. I wish papa could be like that. Then it wouldn't matter if he died, because you would always know he was going to be back again." If only we were given nine lives my dear boy...

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