My father died tonight.
I should have been there at his side, we should have been there at his side, Niko and I, but we weren't, we thought he had more time, and because we were wrong, he died alone.
I wish I could say I knew what I felt, but, the shock is too fresh, and all I can think of is going back to Croatia where I can't help feeling I should have been all along.
The feeling is one that leaves me sick to my stomach because on one hand I am bearing the guilt of having abandoned Abby and Joe for those months that I had already been gone, and on the other it will mean leaving them yet again.
My father was my last real tie to the land of my birth, he was the one who gave me the strength to go on when I lost my wife and children. When I realized that I couldn't stay in Croatia, he was the one who gave his blessing to my leaving, even as my brother Niko accused me of running away.
I wanted so much for my father to know my son, his grandson. I wanted him to have the bond with him that he'd only tasted with Jasna and Marko. I wanted Joe to know his humor, I wanted him to feel his hand as he shared his knowledge with him, and most of all I wanted him to know the love that Niko and I felt as we grew up.
You don't realize how strong your ties are to family until you lose them, I'm seeing that more now, not just because of my father's death, but, in what I've gained by repairing the rift that had existed between Niko and I for so many years. I'm glad my father saw that, I know it was something he had prayed about for far too many years.
I'll hold onto my father's lessons to share with Joe as he grows older, and I'll make sure both my brother Niko and the land of my birth play important parts in his life as well, but none so important as the newest angel he has watching over him.
I love you Tata, and I'll always miss you.