Had you asked me this question years ago, when I was young, before I'd seen what I've seen, lived through all I have experienced, my answer would have been so very different, but age changes so much. In a sense you could say my world has already ended once, and while most people wouldn't understand a statement like that, those who've lived through war will.
You enter life with an innocence, and because of that innocence you accept what the elders in your life teach you without question. But, as much as this innocence teaches you to trust those around you to protect you, it also prevents you from believing that men are capable of the evils that they are until you come face to face with them. At least that was how it was with me.
I grew up thinking I had the perfect life, I had family who loved me, I lived in one of the most beautiful places in the world, I had met and married the woman of my dreams and together we were building our own loving family. The only thing that could make our lives anymore perfect would be for me to graduate from medical school so that we could return to Zagreb where we would once again be close to family and friends. We never counted on a war, and we certainly never counted on the world as we knew it ending, but, it did, and in an instant it seemed, the life I had known was gone.
It has taken me over fifteen years to find my way back from the hell I found myself in after my wife and children were killed. The journey to where I am now has not been an easy one. I've made more mistakes than I want to think about and there have been many times when I hated the person I had become, but, I don't know that I could have gotten to the place I am now without learning the lessons that came with those mistakes.
So, knowing all I know now, and having been through all I have, if I knew that I would once again face the loss of my world, and if I had only a week left with them, I would take Abby and Joe back to my father's home in Croatia. I want Abby and Joe to see the beauty of my homeland, even if its only for that short time, and I want my father to spend time with the grandchild he thought he would never live to see. I can think of no better way to spend my final days then with those I love in the Country I was born in.