His life was over, it didn't matter what anyone said, in his mind it had ended when he'd laid his family to rest, even if he could manage to get past the grief, what did he have left? A wave of nausea surfaced with the thought, a reminder of the truth he wanted to forget. He could hide from it, deny it to others and himself, but it would always be there, that feeling of emptiness, of knowing he would never again feel complete. It had only been three days since his world had come crashing down on him, three days since Danijela and their beautiful babies had been stolen from him. It might as well have been three years for the emptiness he felt without them. They were his life, but, Danijela was his other half, he'd known it from the first time he'd caught sight of her, and now, they were all gone.
When he had asked her father for permission to marry Danijela, he had promised to love and protect her, and now he had failed not only her, but their children as well. How was he supposed to tell them that they were all gone? How was he supposed to tell them that nothing he had done had been enough? As hard as it was for him to accept, he would never be able to forgive himself for what the news would do to either of their parents. You're not supposed to outlive your children, and you're certainly not supposed to outlive your grandchildren, and yet now it was up to him to tell them that they had done both.
Forcing himself to his feet, he left the cot in janitor's closet that had become his home since the apartment had been destroyed. As small as the room was, he still found himself sharing the space with another doctor, a man who like Luka, had also lost his home and family. For the last hour or so, he'd had the tiny room to himself, a rarity as more and more hospital staff found the lines between home and work blurred. Were it not for the knock on the door informing him that a phone connection had finally been made, he would have hidden himself away until time for his shift to begin. At least behind that door he was free from the pitying glances, free from the uncomfortable silences born from those who knew there was nothing they could say that would make things easier. Secreting his photograph of Danijela and Jasna away, he reluctantly left the safety of the small room,it had been 3 days, he couldn't avoid it any longer.
As he dialed the first of the two numbers he could already feel his stomach beginning to twist into knots. As he heard first the click, then the greeting on the other end, it was all he could do not to hang up. Why had he chosen this for the first of the calls? How was he going to tell him that he'd lost not just his daughter but his grandchildren as well? How was he going to tell the man that all the plans they'd spoke of for their future would now never take place?
"Ante...it's Luka..." As he started to speak, he couldn't help but hear the intake of air on the other end. Did the man know the reason for the call before he could even reveal it? It took everything he had to find his voice again so he could continue.
"I'm sorry..." His voice broke, and the tears he'd fought so hard to hold back washed over his words as he forced himself to relive his families final hours for Danijela's father. It did not get any easier when he repeated the call with his own parents.