For the ones that follow this blog is not a surprise that this year we are celebrating the centenary of my father, Luka Brajnović
Recently his former students of the University of Navarre, organised a celebration in his honour in Madrid. Some famous Spanish journalists who had been his pupils came and payed him homage telling things like that my father had been the teacher who had teach them to be free (in times when in Spain that was not so easy) and work according with the ethics.
The organizadores had put in the paraninfo a giant picture of my dad surrounded by his students in the University’s bar, talking informal. With that scenery and in front of almost 300 people, I could talk about him.
A Known journalist asked me about my book. In it I have told the story of my parents during the II World War and the Cold War when they suffered a lot and had to spend twelve years separated forcefully, but their love increased in that time of harsh difficulties.
I began to write the book just after my mother’s death and for me was an intense emotional journey from which I have emerged loving my parents more than ever.
In the featured image I caress my dad’s face in the picture. With me are my sisters Elica and Ljerka. Elica Was born in Croatia during the war before my parents were forced to separate. She was a little baby 4 months. And she stayed with my mom in Yugoslavia. She met her dad when she was 12 years old and the family finally reunited in Munich. In the picture above, there I am between two great Spanish Journalists José María Irujo (El País) and Iñaki Gabilondo (SER) talking about my dad.
I can sense the blue glance of my dad very close to me while I’m sailing thru the sea of his childhood.
I’m looking at the green and white islands around us and listening to the ancient stories that the old sailor is telling me about these magic places. There is an Island with the shape of a heart in the middle of our trip. A big heart like it was my dad’s.
The breezebring my thoughts away. Or maybe is pushingthem to the deepest of my soul. Yes. That is it. Images from my parents being happy are mixed with this Symphony of blue that was the landscape of their youth. I look for silence while I hear the seagulls and look at the dolphins jumping cheerfully.
I have never been here before, but somehow all this is familiar to me and,in a way, mine. My arrivals to this land and this sea are in facta way back home. Here I feel safe and happy. Like when I was near mom and dad. Maybe because their presence here is so powerful and is a reminder of the years they were young and happy together.
I hate being negative, but purple reminds me to the dead, because is the colour of the funerals in the church.
I have too recent my mom’s funeral, with all the priests dressed in purple chasuble, singing songs about the everlasting life, in wich I firmly believe.
It was a very sad day, because is always hard to say good-bye. Above all when there is so much love involved.
Now her home is no longer a home, but a strange empty place. It was also a day of hope, because she went to a better life, stopped suffering and finally rested. And I’m sure she’s now with dad in heaven, wich was her biggest wish.
But we, down here, would like to have her more time, to hear her stories, laugh with her, feel her love for us, her children.
I have spent my last five years taking care of her since she had a stroke. I still getting up in the morning thinking: I have to go to take care of mom… And then the harsh truth strikes my mind like a hammer. I have no longer where to go.
Well, I have found places to go and things to do, but without mom.
Since we don’t have the daily prompt I have turned back for inspiration in the Jennifer Nichole Wells’ Topic Generator at http://topicgenerator.wordpress.com It provides you a random noun combined with a random adjective as a headline for your blog post.
Today it gave me the combination “Homely Tradition”
The first thing it came to my mind was music.
When we were kids my dad used to wake us up in feast days and special occasions with music. He would turned on the record player and surprised us with some joyful classic.
We would jumped up from bed and would run to the living room knowing that something special was waiting for us. A little gift, a funny poem, and that was only the beginning of a wonderful day in wich wouldn’t fail a delicious cake baked by mom.
So, from our childhood we have the music associated to joy and nice family life, because we also sang together a lot. Nowadays in the era of the headphones the music experience has become more individualistic (apart from the concerts and the street musicians). I
miss the times when we listened to the music together. With the social networks one can easily establish relationships with distant and unknown people and have problems to interact with real people in the neighbourhood. That happens to me above all with youngsters. I don’t know. Maybe I’m getting old.
It’s been seventeen years since my dad passed away, but sometimes it seems it was yesterday. So vivid and sweet is the memory of his words, his blue glances, his kindness… I’ll say with Ella Fitzgerald, that
This year I have failed in almost everything I was supposed to do, but I can say that I have been there for my mom till she passed away, taking care of her, being by her side when she needed me, talking with her… loving her. I’m glad I have been able to do it. Now I feel sad when I see her house empty and I miss her smile and her wise and loving words. But life must go on… I’ll never forget this 2017.
My parents house was a cozy place mainly because they were there filling everything with their affection and their love. But also because the house was plenty of books (my father was a writer and a professor of literature), that gave warmth to the rooms. There were no walls without shelves and books on them except in the kitchen.
My father passed away years ago and my mother a few months ago, and we decided to donate my father’s library and his archive to his University. It will be available to scholars to research about my father’s work.
A few days before Christmas two librarians from the University came to classify, pack, and take away everything. They needed 115 big boxes to pack everything and two big vans to move them to the University’s Library and Archive
Now the house is empty and cold. Very sad. At least, we know all that beloved material is in good hands and will be useful for people interested in what my father had been doing all those years he spent writing and teaching. There are some graduated who could make their papers for their PhD on my father’s work.
All these are the good reasons we did. But for me is hard to look at the empty shelves without feeling my heart torn.
My mom passed away a few months ago. I miss her badly. Above all these days. Here she is solving crosswords at her desk. She was always busy with something. I like this picture because it conveys the cozy and peaceful environment she created with her presence. She was the soul of the house. Now the room is empty and cold without her. There are many memories, but my soul hurts.
My parents lived one of the most exciting love stories I’ve ever heard of. They got married during the WWII. They had a baby, and almost immediately after that, the war separated them.
My father was a prisoner, later a refugee and finally an exiled. My mom had to hide with the baby and later was persecuted because of her faith in a communist country. They spent twelve years trying to reunite again during which they suffered a lot.
All their attempts were a failures until 1956. But they loved each other so much that when they finally succeeded and met again, they were able to look at each other at the eyes without regrets, and continue their live together just as if they had said farewell the day before. And they continued loving each other like the first day till the end.
Dad, a writer, used to write poems to mom and surprise her with little gifts with no apparently reason. She was always smiling. Their friends and acquaintances say that my parents conveyed serenity and happiness. I think so too.
My dad passed away sixteen years ago. My mom just last August.
I miss them badly
They didn’t have material things to leave us as inheritance.
I would like to inherit their way of loving, so natural, so intense, so faithful.
I used to knit during the long hours I spent taking care of my mom when she was still among us. It was the perfect activity to be with her. I was able to follow a conversation with her, do something productive, and drop it immediately whenever she needed something of me, which was pretty often, and unpredictable. I couldn’t read a book, because I couldn’t concentrate with so much interruptions. Watch tv was extremely boring. She loved watching me doing something while I was with her. when I finished my first sweater she said she was really proud of me. Since she passed away I never took out again the knitting bag again…until today to take this picture.
When I was a student at the University, my father was one of my teachers. I studied Journalism and he was a teacher of Literature, Technology and Ethics. I could attended at his classes which were magnificent above all the Literature an ethics ones. But he couldn’t examine me because I was his daughter.
He was known because he never let his students fail in an exam. They knew all of them would pass, but nevertheless they studied a lot for his exams. How did he get it? Nobody knew. He used to tell them if they wouldn’t work enough then, they will fail later in life. And he was able to convince them. He was really kind and always open to talk with his students.
So, when all my classmates had guaranteed that they would pass the exam, I had to go to render my exam to a different professor. In Ethics I had to face the toughest teacher of the Faculty who asked me tricky questions without any mercy. I didn’t want mercy, just justice. And that was not fair. At the end I passed, but it was hard.
Now that my mom has passed away, her nest is empty. Her house, a meeting point for all of us, plenty of great remembrances, is now a sad and solitary place. The place where I used to go to find refuge and solace is gone.
Soon it will begin the time of Advent and after that, Christmas. Every year I used to spend many time with her, planning what to do, what presents get ready for the kids, how to set the simple grotto scene in the living room, under the Christmas tree full of decorations and lights.
And because she was so sick and paralytic, I was the one doing all that things under her loving directions, while we listened to traditional carols .
We used to laugh like kids at the slightest reason or without any reason at all.
I loved the moment when I had finished decorating the tree and the whole living room. It was usually at the evening. I used to turn off all the lights except the ones on the tree and the grotto scene and all the other decorations. Then I used to go to my mom’s room and bring her, pushing the wheelchair, to the living room.
The wonder in her face was my best reward. Her eyes were bright and smiling and my heart was dancing. I’m going to miss you so much, mom!
Every Christmas eve, my dad used to build a grotto scene in the living room with little figurines of st Joseph, the Virgin Mary, the Baby Jesus and the shepherds, under the Christmas tree.
He had a beautiful a valuable figurine of the angel who announced to the shepherds the good news and he always put it in the scene gingerly at the end. When the angel was in its place it meant that everything was ready and the feast could begin.
Then, we could gather around the scene and the tree and pray, sing carols and finally open the presents.
The figurine, dad’s angel, no more than six inches tall, was very artistically done had every finger modeled one by one and a very peaceful face. It’s been more than 60 years than my dad bought the figurine and it looks completely new.
Now my sister keeps it in her house. She also takes very good care of it. It brings very good memories of all those Christmas at our home when we were all together and happy, and everything had some kind of sweet magic.
Those were wonderful years and now we are trying to build similar memories for the youngest in our family so they could also treasure wonderful memories of family life Gingerly