A different kind of journey

On February 5, as I was taking care of last-minute preparations for my six-week trip to Bolivia, I got a call from my mother in Croatia with disturbing news – my father has cancer. My first instinct was to drop the project in Bolivia and hop on a plane to Zagreb to be with him. Yet everyone, including my father, convinced me to go and do my job as planned. So I went.

During the two weeks I spent in Bolivia, my father underwent serious surgery, seemed to be recovering for a couple of days and then lapsed into a coma from the complications. At the same time, I was a couple of continents away surrounded by some of the most beautiful, otherworldly, stirring landscapes on earth. Yet however much I was trying to enjoy my trip and be fully present, most of me was in Croatia on another journey, my father’s. So about ten days ago, I packed my bags in Potosi at 4070 meters of altitude, left the job on hold and traveled to Croatia for three days to hold my father’s hand.

My father is a big traveler. As one of Croatia’s most prominent, dare I say legendary sports journalists and newscasters, he has traveled the world far and wide reporting on various sports events (he covered each Winter Olympic Games from 1976 to 2002). There is no doubt where I got my travel bug. Every chance he had, my father brought the family along – my mom, brother and I. Instead of customary middle-class shopping trips to Italy or Austria, we tagged along on various adventures – from skiing in the Swiss Alps to visiting Disneyland in California (I was 15 then and thought this was the ultimate travel experience ever!). My father always taught me that one’s wisdom and experience come from the “pictures” gathered over a lifetime. He believed travel is the best way to collect these pictures.

As I write this, it’s been two weeks that my father is in intensive care, hooked up to machines, unconscious and unable to move. My father, whose spirit has always been sport, movement, action… My days revolve around the hospital visit every afternoon when I go and stand by him, caress his forehead and tell him stories. Often I recall our trips around the world. Maybe because he’s on a different kind of journey. This time, sadly, a journey I can’t join. This one, we all take alone.

Blog Comments

Anja,
My well wishes to your father and your family. He is an amazing person and you are an amazing daughter. It is a tough, tough time for you, yet you’ve posted something so beautiful. Your words that speak to us about this “different kind of journey” are not just yours alone. They are also your father’s…

So sorry to hear about your father. As we get older we realise how much we have been shaped by our parents approach and values. It’s good to enjoy time with our parents while they’re still with us.

Hi Anja,
I’m sorry to read this news, wishing you strength.
Liz

My heart and prayers go out to you and your family during this difficult time.

Thanks for sharing this, Anja. My thoughts are with you and your family.

Anja,
It saddens and even pains me to hear of your fathers illness. I know we do not know each other, but you have given me hope through reading your journals that my dreams are, in fact, attainable. Being with your father right now is just another stop for you on your life journey. It is a difficult one, but it is not impossible. There is a verse in the new testament that says the Lord will not give you more than you can handle and that He will always provide a way out for you. I am also reminded of something my old Anthropology prof. told me after I found out he was retiring and I expressed how much I hated goodbyes…He said, “Oh, no…you don’t ever have to say good-bye. The people who have left the greatest impression on your life will stay in your soul forever!”
.comfort and peace to you.

Anja,
sending all positive thoughts and energy to you and your family during this difficult time.

Thank you everyone for your support, kind words and wishes. It means a lot in this difficult moment.

My dear Anja,

as a cousin I can only say that I am with you and your family with all my heart… your father was and is my best uncle I ever had. My first cigarette, my first “loza”, my first boyfriend, husband, second husband, jobs and joy…. HE IS ALWAYS THERE… my fathers numbers of hospitals… he was there… my first skiing… all the laugh about my “talent” BORIS WAS THE SUPPORTER!… Anja, it is really bad what is happening, but we are all proud of him he made the history of Croatian sport news… he is a living legend… TV Croatia wouldn’t be as it is … Yugoslavian TV was happy when he was broadcasting… Boris is the legend… legends live… Volim te Bovo i tvoj nos!

Hi Anja,
Sorry to hear about your father, my thoughts go out to you and your family. Thanks for that inspirational story; I can find myself in your position and can feel how much appreciative we are of our parents. Your writings have incredible strength, please keep writing !
Sam from Dallas,TX

Draga Anja,
necu uopce ni pokusavati opisati koliko sam tuzna, kao i svi moji doma, a pogotovo tata. Ljubi mamu i brata i drzite se. Puno vas volimo i mislimo na vas.

pusa,

Lahorka

I’m sorry to hear about this, even though I don’t know you personally.

Happy travels!

Anja – I’m so sorry to hear of your sad news. Thank you for sharing this very intimate journey.

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