All Posts Tagged ‘father

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A powerful forgiveness

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My father, Luka Brajnovic,  had to endure very difficult situations in his life. In 1943, when he was just 24, a young journalist , a civilian, a pacifist, trying to survive in the middle of a cruel war, he was a direct victim of the violence. the train in which he was traveling, fell in an ambush. There was an intense shooting. Many travellers died. He survived but was taken prisoner. His captors forced him to walk three days without food or water. He was convinced they were going to kill him. In his diary he writes about the third day:

The thought of death appears natural and even as a lifeline. Here in a desert and unknown place, they will bury bodies who were loved, but the souls cannot be buried, not here, not anywhere. If they kill me, they may do so with the best of intentions, thinking they do an act of justice. But would that be really justice ?. Whom have I done wrong? Whom I wished evil ?. However, I reject these thoughts because  I don’t want they discouraging me. Forgive. Forgive everyone. Also to those who commit the injustice and those who, with the injustice,  have caused this chaos .

When they arrived to the headquarters of the guerrilla, they told him he was sentenced to death. He dug his own tomb along with 17 other men, and was in front of the armed guerrilla men who were going to shoot him when a guerrilla chief, who was a journalist like my father, gave the order to take him away from the line. He saved his life. But then began a long story of suffering as a prisoner.
Reading my father’s diaries, I’m deeply impressed by his sense of forgiveness, something he kept all his life and now I understand why that man who seemed so fragile had such an inner strength.

Lately I’ve been busy building a new blog dedicated to him in Spanish. Anyway if you want to take a look is in brajnovic.info

Mad Libs

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Grandma for 15 days

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Sure, you turned out pretty good, but is there anything you wish had been different about your childhood? If you have kids, is there anything you wish were different for them?

Once, my grandma came to visit us. She got a visa permit for 15 days from the communist Yugoslavian authorities to cross the border. She hadn’t seen my father since the day he got imprisoned by the Italian fascists who invaded their town during WWII and began his adventurous life who ended in exile and immigration. More than 20 years of separation.
I was five. We knew we only would have grandma for a few days. So we were all day around her, while she was all time close to my father, her lost child, now found for a short time. They had a lot to talk about. We listened in silence.
She had a very sweet face with a charming smile and beautiful blue eyes. I remember I was happy just being close to her and looking at her. The only family I knew till then was my parents and my brother and sisters. A grandma was a big novelty. I experienced her love for us. And it was great!.
Those few days passed too fast. We had to say goodbye, knowing it was for ever. And nine months later, she died.
I wish I had an extended family at reach. We were alone in a strange country. No family, no roots near us. The usual in an immigrant family.

Childhood Revisited.

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My father

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Have you ever had a mentor? What was the greatest lesson you learned from him or her?

When I was looking for my first job as a journalist I avoided the newspaper in which my father was working as a columnist because I didn’t want any favouritism. So I went with my résumé to another newspaper knowing that I would leave my home and move to another city. It was worthwhile. I learned a lot those first years by myself. Nevertheless I consider that my dad was my best mentor in life and in my profession because he taught me everything I needed to survive, search for the truth and work with ethics. He was always available for me. He knew to listen. He understood my problems and knew when I needed an advice and when I only wanted to lean on his strong shoulder, or share my joys or worries with him. He never imposed anything. By listening to me and let me talk, he helped me find my way to do things. And all with his fine sense of humor, with an easy smile in his face and in his bright blue eyes.

Mentor Me.

 

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Rainy mood

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Remember this prompt, when your home was on fire and you got to save five items? That means you left a lot of stuff behind. What are the things you wish you could have taken, but had to leave behind

Yesterday the heavens opened and since then it’s raining heavy non stop. I’m more worried about a flood than a fire. My neighbourhood is close to the river but in a high terrain. We have even a public lift to access to the lowest part of the city, where the river Arga flows. I have good friends who live in a neighbourhood down, close to the riverbank. And the forecast says there will be snow at least till Thursday. They have built this year new walls to contain the waters. So we will see if this time are enough to avoid the floods.

Back to the hypothetical fire. I would go back and try to recover all that reminds me of my father. I think I rescued first time his diaries and some pictures. Second time I rescued my computer where I have his books and more pictures, but there are other things in the house: his pen, his typewriter, his hat, the picture of Our Lady of the Rock of Kotor Bay he had in his desk, letters, some paintings… I really don’t need things to remember him, so vivid he remains in my memory and my heart, but I love to have them around.

 

Burnt.

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A painting

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What’s the best present you’ve ever received that was handmade by the giver, not store-bought? Tell us what made it so special.

Christmas 2007. I had just moved to my new apartment. My sister surprised me with her gift. A painting made by herself. She’s an artist. She likes the naïf style. I was expecting something like a landscape or a rural scene, full of colours, but instead she surprised me with a portrait: my dad as a young man. She got inspired in an old picture in which my father appears looking towards the horizon from the deck of a ship.

She knew that everything about my father is special to me. I miss him so much! No matter how long have been since he passed away, it seems it have been yesterday.

I miss his blue eyes and his smile. I miss his good sense of humor and his wisdom. I miss our long talks and our quiet walks.

Now the portrait that my sister made has a place of honour in my home.

 

By Hand.

 

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Immortal soul and early terrors

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At what age did you realize you were not immortal? How did you react to that discovery?

I really don’t remember, but it must be at a very early age because death visited my family when I was very small and my parents surely explained to me what was all about. Including something I firmly believe: that my soul is immortal and after this life there is something else, much better, close to God. So my actions are not indifferent. I also believe that I’ll see again my loved ones who are gone. Because love doesn’t die either.

Back to my early reaction. I remember as a child wishing to die the day of the last judgment, because I didn’t want to have my body rotting in a grave.  I thought I was going to stay conscious and feel all that process as if I had been alive. I was terrified and had nightmares. My dad asked me what was the matter, and he explained me how things are so I stopped thinking that way and never had those nightmares again.

I also remember that when I was small I had something wrong in my leg, so I fell down often while playing in school. Once I asked my teacher why older people didn’t fall. She answered because if they fell they would die. Of course I believed her blindly. Next Sunday, we were going for a walk with my parents. My brother and I went ahead running down the stairs from the sixth floor where we lived to wait for my parents at the door of the building. Suddenly we hear a noise and saw my father’s cigarettes falling through the hole of the stairs. Obviously he had fallen. Then we hear my mom’s voice laughing. I thought horrified How my mom could laugh when my dad had died?.

When we saw both of them coming down smiling and talking, I realised my teacher had deceived me. My father had fallen And he had not died. My mom was laughing because nothing happened and the situation was funny.

Finite Creatures.

 

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A habit

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What’s the longest you’ve ever gone without reading a book (since learning how to read, of course)? Which book was it that helped break the dry spell?

My father gave me an advice when I was very young: read at least twenty minutes every day no matter how busy you are. Don’t let pass a day without reading a good book. Now it’s a habit for me. Read every day.

Dad was a Journalist, writer and Literature Teacher. He left us an extensive library. So we have plenty to choose among the classics and the XX Century authors. There are also a lot of good books to read out there. When I find myself with problems about what to choose I don’t mind to reread one of the great books I enjoyed the most.

About my early years, I remember being an avid reader of juvenile novels as the point to have serious problems to stop reading to study for my exams. Somehow I managed to succeed in my grades.

when I was 12 or 13 I had an operation in my leg because of a tumor in a bone. I spent three months at home, without go to school. My dad introduced me to great books and authors: The Pearl, The Old Man and the Sea, and many more… Since then, I’ve never stopped reading.

Reader’s Block.

 

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Voices

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A lively group discussion, an intimate tête-à-tête, an inner monologue — in your view, when it comes to a good conversation, what’s the ideal number of people?

I live in a country where people use to speak very fast, everybody at the same time, changing subjects very quickly, so a conversation among more than three people is very difficult to follow. For me, I have to confess, almost impossible. The locals seem to have no problem with that in their typical get together. I can’t take part. It’s too chaotic and fast to me. I lack the agility of mind required. When I’m thinking in my reply to the first topic of the conversation I realise there is no use, because everybody already are talking about another thing. But it’s interesting and funny to listen to. I enjoy being in a get together despite I’m not talking at all.

When I want to talk I look for the company of another person or maximum two more persons. I can speak and follow the conversation, take my time to think and go deep. It’s completely different. And then also is very important what kind of people we are talking about. I’d chose my best friends.

Probably the best conversations of my life were the ones I had with my father. He was loving and wise. I’ll never forget those long walks in the gardens of the University Campus, talking about everything. We didn’t need anybody else to have an unforgettable conversation.

Counting Voices.

 

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I miss him

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Do you have a mentor? Tell us about him or her. Are you a mentor to someone else? Tell us what that relationship has added to your life.

I don’t have a mentor any more. Actually I don’t remember having a mentor other than my dad. He was an open door to me, always available to my questions about life, about my job, about everything, always ready to listen to me. Always there for me. He is part of my life. No matter how may years have passed since he died, I miss him every day. I miss his blue eyes, his smile, his wise words, his laugh, his being silent, his songs, his looking at me understanding, I miss him. I would like to write better to explain what was my dad for me. But unfortunately I have no words, no time to do it.

I didn’t mentor anybody, I think, but I tried always to help my coworkers, above all the younger ones. When I taught at the Journalism School of the University I gave good references about my students to help them get a job. Two of them ended working in my newsroom.

Daily Prompt: Cheering Section.
Mentoring posts by other bloggers on the next page:

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At home

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What makes a teacher great?

I’m in a dilemma here. It’s my fourth attempt to write this post. I have no problem to think about what makes a teacher great. The problem is thinking about great teachers makes me think about my father and I didn’t want to write again about him. I tried. It sounded cold and lifeless.

My father taught in a Journalism School and most of my colleagues remember him as a great teacher. Even today, 12 years after his death some of them known journalists in Spain are saying he was the best teacher they remember, because he taught them to live not only subjects.

And he knew about what he was teaching. He taught Ethics in Journalism. Before that He had endured a concentration camp for refusing doing propaganda for the communists against his conscience. And the pro fascists authorities closed his newspaper because of what he published in it. He was independent and because of that, prosecuted by everybody during WWII in what is now Croatia. Most of his students didn’t know about that. I knew. He taught also Literature being himself a writer and he explained the other writers work in such a way that after his lectures people rushed to the library to read them.

He was always available to his students, listening at them, talking to them, no matter how long it would take, to the point we were jealous. As one of his students, Carmen Ripa, remembers:

“his classes were tranquil, calm, serene. I learned a lot from him, both personally and professionally, because, as he said, “a media professional is one who dedicates himself to the service of others”. He taught us in such a way as to make us want to learn, not just to pass examinations. That passing an examination was a momentary victory, but learning in itself was for a lifetime.” (…) Don Luka has left and gone to heaven, leaving behind a portion of his wisdom and learning, and the example of the goodness of his heart that never transmitted an ounce of hatred. And forgiveness.  I have taken to heart a comment he once made which reflects his personality; “every day of my life I have struggled in a positive way against hatred”. He was always Don Luka, perhaps because we never spoke informally to our professors, or maybe because he was simply a great man.”

He was a great man, a great father, and a great teacher.

Daily Prompt: We Can Be Taught!.