(Yes, I know I already posted on this once, but, Luka demanded he have a chance to make amends on one other situation that weighs heavy on him despite the number of years that have passed since it's occurrence.)
How do I begin to ask forgiveness for actions that ultimately resulted in the ending of three lives? It seems impossible to consider but, that's exactly what I'm doing after all these years. It's taken me over 16 years to realize that I cannot continue to hold onto the guilt over mistakes I made before I could truly understand the consequences of my actions. I look back over my life now, all that I have been through, the good and the bad, and I realize just how naive Danijela and I were.
From the moment I saw Danijela in that Zagreb coffeehouse, I knew there was something about her that made her different about every other girl I'd been around. Once I worked up the courage to introduce myself, and actually began talking to her, I realized just how right I was. Almost two years passed between that first day and the one in which we became man and wife, and while we might have thought we knew everything we could know about each other, there are times where I wondered if we knew anything at all. Despite our differences, and the hardships we both knew would come while I was in school, within 9 months of our marriage, we welcomed our first child, a daughter.
The next few years were happy ones for us, we had our daughter, the support of our families, and friends, and of course I still had classes as well as work to keep me busy. Life for us wasn't easy, we were never rich, and at times we struggled, but, we were always happy. When it was learned that my approaching residency would mean moving to Vukovar we found ourselves filled with mixed emotions. For both of us, this would prove to be the first time we would find any real distance between us and our families, and almost as quickly, Danijela learned that she was once again pregnant. We both worried about being so far away from home, so far from those we loved at a time such as that, but we knew too, that we had no choice, and 9 months later, we welcomed our son into our growing family.
It would be easy to say that life fell into a routine for us, and I suppose in a way it did, for both Danijela and I loved parenting and when I wasn't working, we wanted nothing more then to spend time with our children. If we had any regrets during that time, it was only that we were so far away from our families, and our tight finances made visits home few and far between.
In the almost 16 years since that fateful day I've thought often about how life was for us then. I've looked back with fondness on all of those cherished happy times, the birthdays, celebrations with our families. I've woke drenched in sweat when during sleep I found myself trapped in the nightmare of that final day, unable to change it's outcome. I look back now on the conversations Danijela and I had over those first days and weeks on the War and I wonder how we couldn't have seen what seems so clear now. I wonder why I didn't force her to take the children and go to our parents, and then I realize that her own stubbornness would never have allowed for it. Even now, as I ask for forgiveness for the choices we made together, I realize I should have put Danijela and our children before my residency, and it's that above all else that I ask forgiveness for most. Nothing seems more important now than her knowing that even while I might not have acted as if it were the case, I would have given my life to save theirs. So are the mistakes of our youth, and as I ask now for forgiveness of those choices we made together so many years ago. I know I cannot undo them, and those memories, as with all the others I hold close, for they are all I have left of those who are with me no more.