Dear Nono, dear, dear Kai,
I know it doesn't seem so, but I do think of you some times. Just as it doesn’t seem that Nenad is with you anymore, but I am sure he is every moment of your life.
I think of Nenad quite often. When I am sad and depressive, when I have some hard time, when I am tired and confused, he gives me strength. He always has. Ever since I've met him in Amsterdam. I felt then, and I feel now, like I know him for all my life, although it's not so.
I knew him for some five years. I don't even know how well I knew him, and I simply didn't dare to write about him. It is not easy to write about Nenad. I speak with him now and then. I have these few angels of mine that I occasionally address: look somewhere up in the sky and give them a look, or say something short, and they know. I know they know. I know they see. They are looking after me, and you, I am sure. He is one of them.
I don't know will I be able to explain any of this, but here is a short story:
When I was about to move to Amsterdam in 2000, I met our mutual friend Smajo in Vinkovci (our born town) and he told me to look for Cena there. I didn't know Nenad then. Smajo told me Cena is a strange guy, somehow different from all of us, but that I will like him.
I can say we share the same background. We both grew up in the same environment, Vinkovci, which is (or at least was before the war) quite specific little town in east Slavonia. That is why I had feeling that I know him for all my life when I met him.
Slavonians are very specific people; warm and wide open, just as their land, friendly and great hosts, but with a certain self-destructive energy, pathos which is very hard to describe. They are emotional and benevolent, often just and proud, but seldom let you help them and share their sorrow. They will never show you their pain, but will give you a lot of love and affection. At least that was something all of us shared back then, when we were growing up.
Nenad was my angel in Amsterdam. He felt my personal confusion, without me saying anything. He always knew what to do and how to help, and was never reluctant to do so. When I was ill or had a cold, he would wake up at 2 o'clock in the morning, kook a soup and his special thee and bring it to me. He understood and cured my sorrow. But, he would never let me help him. I never knew how, he never asked for it. He, always asked for his privacy, and I simply didn't dare to interfere. I could only be his friend in a way to listen patiently to what he asks for and support him in his wishes. He was a man with so much integrity and kindness that only knowing him was an illumination for me.
He was the kindest man I have ever met. I cannot imagine him doing or even saying anything bad to anyone. I never saw him sad or mad. And he was my friend. Even more, he was my guru. We spoke a lot, and never about trivial things. Once we travelled together by car from Amsterdam to Vinkovci. We had more than 15 hours to talk about our lives. I don’t remember details, but I was probably complaining about my confusion with the life, the lack of justice and logic in it and other things that bother us all, asking for an advice from him. In our conversations, I was always searching for an advice because I thought of him as of wise guy who wishes me well.
I just remember that, at certain point, he asked me: “What are you afraid of?”
After long silence, I finally said: “I am afraid of failing”.
And he immediately responded: “But, what is success? Think of what is success for you?”
I didn’t know the answer. This question is hunting me to this day. I am sure, though, that he knew. He just never told me, because he knew that I am the only one who can answer that question to me.
Dear Kai, I hope you will remember this one day. I am positive that your father wishes the same for you too. You are the only one who can answer that question in your life, and whatever you do, and whatever you decide, I am sure your father is supporting you and protecting you from above.
I remember when he came to Karo and me and told us he will become a father. He wasn’t only happy, but also blessed. I never saw such a glimpse in anybody’s eyes. It was like, after a long, long time, he finally fined the real purpose of his existence in the material world. Did I mention that he spent most of his time in spiritual world, and that this world seemed like a bus stop for him? But, after he witnessed your birth, it was obvious that he decided to become more serious about this mortal life.
I cannot say what happened to cause such a bad illness that made him go away too early. I can only guess, and I am guessing that his previous way of living, in which he didn’t take seriously his obligation to care about his own body (probably because he was looking very much forward to what he always sensed – that there is another, more pleasant and more important world waiting for all of us to be finally free and happy, especially if we are kind to each other in this one). He had many freezing days playing on the street. He got vet so many times. And he also had his nightmares, but as I said, he wouldn’t let anyone help him and share his sorrow. He was stubborn, indeed. He never complained, no matter how hard it was. I guess he didn’t expect you, and therefore he didn’t care for himself. But I am sure he is with the two of you all the time, although it may not seem so right now.
From what I know, he is probably now somewhere in heaven, right next to the Buddha, advising Him on what herbs to use for bad neck of swollen feet, preparing a Mystery bath and comforting Him in long and lonely nights when Buddha is unhappy because his children hate each other. And I am absolutely sure that the best way to make him happy, dear Kai, is to be the best son for your mother, to be nice and kind boy, and to never forget that you have the best dad in both worlds, who definitely loves you so much that you can never fail him.