"Everything passes. Nobody gets anything for keeps. And that's how we've got to live." Haruki Murakami.
"One, two, three, breathe, one, two, three, breathe." Over and over despite his own weariness.
"Breathe for Tata, Jasna...breathe, one, two, three." Even as he forced more air into his young daughter's mouth he realized the hopelessness in the act, she was gone. The cry of grief found it's way from him before he collapsed over her in exhaustion. No, not his little girl too.
"One, two, three, breathe." From somewhere he found the strength to begin the compressions again, even as his mind screamed to him the futility of the act. His wife and baby son were already gone, he couldn't lose his little girl too.
"Come on, Jasna, please, please, baby, breathe." His own breathing seemed to come in shallower breaths as the smoke from burning fires hovered in the ruins of what had been their home.
"One, two, three." He forced another breath into the small girl's mouth before sitting back on his heels, his gaze fixed on her chest.
"One breath for Tata, just one breath." As her chest remained still he knew the prayer would go unanswered and the tears he had fought so hard to hold back were at long last released. Leaning forward he lifted his daughter into his arms, cradling her close as he gave way to the grief of his failure. He'd lost them all. Ignoring the rubble beneath him he crawled over to where his wife had lay.
"I'm sorry, Danijela, I tried, I tried..." His voice broke as he settled his daughter in her mother's arms.
"I have to get Marko." Leaning forward he lay a kiss on first Jasna, and then his wife, hating to leave them but, hating more what was still to come. Turning away from them he forced himself to his feet, the crib had stood by the door, and it was there that their baby boy had lost his life. The sight of the toddler's hand reaching for help through the crib railings drew another cry from him, the pain ripping deeper then he had thought possible. Dropping to his knees he pulled broken wallboard and plaster aside, and it was only when the railing was completely clear that he paused.
"Marko." He whispered the toddler's name as he lifted the railing off of his small body. If not for some small scratches and the dustfrom being buried he could pretend he was asleep, but as he held him close he could feel the lie. His baby boy was gone, and he would never again see his smile, or hear his laugh. Climbing to his feet he carried his son back to where his wife and daughter lay, only to again kneel beside them as he reached them.
"I found him, Danijela...I found him." As he had with his daughter, he tucked his son into the safety of his mother's arms, only she could protect them now.