We were always very close and connected, my dad and I. Sometimes not talk much, just enjoy the company, sharing moments, and sometimes sharing stories, insights, and ideas. Humor was one of our favorite ways to bond.
I’ve learned a lot from him about nature, people, leadership, systems, working for the cause, perseverance through challenges, living with integrity, and living to serve. Some lessons were more linked to a father-daughter connection, and some were more a mentor-mentee exchange as we’ve been working in a similar environment for about 10 years and had few shared interests.
The way he lived his life, and the values he believed in, like solidarity, humanity, integrity, contribution, self-discipline, taking responsibility, and hard work, and how he was all his working period in service to the country, nation, people, community, and his colleagues, were always very present in my life and affected me significantly.
He used to recite a verse from a poem by a Slovene poet Oton Zupancic, “Domovina je ena, nam sem dodeljena, in eno zivljenje in ena smrt” – in English it goes, “Homeland is One, Belongs to Us All, and One Life, and One Death”. He used to recite it especially when he heard me or someone else criticizing or complaining about how things are or should be. When he passed on we could see how his life and lifelong service resembled this verse. It started to make so much sense.
It was a shocking, yet profound experience, to see my dad just a few minutes after he passed on. There came a sort of a half scream out of me in disbelief and confusion if this was really what I thought it was. Each moment fell into another, with tears pouring down my face uncontrollably, while my mind and body were aligning with this new reality.
Contemplating this moment and experience, I wrote these thoughts:
One Life to Live = Impacted by Many + Many to Impact. One can’t demand from life more than it is. One can only give life the freedom to express its power through living and creating.