For over fifteen years I have mourned the lost of my wife and children, mourned a life that by all accounts ended with their deaths. I also thought that the person I was to them was buried with them on the day their caskets were lowered into the ground on that cold Vukovar morning. I was wrong. I never realized that until Joe was born. Joe...Josip, my son...he's what I'm most thankful for, and of course I'm also thankful for what he's brought with him.
For the first six, maybe seven years after the loss of my family I refused to let anyone get close to me, I shut myself off from feeling anything, or so I thought. I had been responsible for their deaths, and any attempt to begin a life without them would mean a betrayal to them, and that was something I could never do, and then I met Carol.
I don't know what it was about her, maybe it was the fact that she was alone, maybe it was just my need to be a father again and the fact that her daughters were without one. Whatever the reason I allowed myself to grow close to them and when Carol left and took them with her, it was like losing my children all over again.
In the years between then and now I've made other attempts at trying to find myself, find the person I was meant to be, but nothing has ever seemed right, until that moment when Abby told me she was pregnant. I'd felt it once before, when I thought that Nicole was pregnant with my child, but it was different with her because I didn't have the feelings for her that I have for Abby. Then, when she said that it was was a lie, I don't know, I think in that moment I knew what it felt like to have hope ripped from your heart, and in it's place I was left with a gaping hole that I thought would never heal.
In that I was wrong, Joe has seen to that, and his birth not only filled it but, saw it grow tenfold. That's not to say it came all at once, his birth was not an easy one, his life was at risk for weeks after he was born and every day I prayed to be allowed to sacrifice mine for his. I begged God to spare his life, to not force me to have to see yet another child of mine laid in the earth before me, and this time he heard my prayers. Today Joe is thriving, and each day seems to bring something new for us to be thankful for, and I wonder, could life be any better?