Enrich your life

Jimi Hendrix “I’m the one that’s got to die when it’s time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want to.” ― Jimi Hendrix

Posted by on Nov 29, 2015

VedranI’ll never forget the first time I met my dear friend Vedran. It was in April two years ago at Noć knjige (Book night) for the homeless at Zagreb City Library which was organised by our dear mutual friend Sanja. It was the first time I had sung at an event for the homeless (I have to my great pleasure sung at many since then) and was a little nervous as I am before any event where I have to sing, especially by myself. So I took my friend Davor along to “hold my hand”. There were a lot of people there and Vedran and Evelyn were the highlight of the evening.

As always, Sanja opened with an introductory speech, and then Vedran held a presentation about his adventures travelling around Europe with his beloved Evelyn (you can read about them here). I was literally on the edge of my seat as he talked about travelling from place to place, shelter to shelter, with Evelyn in tow. I had been on the Camino the previous year and was going again that year, so I knew what it was like to go from place to place, albergue to albergue, living out of a backpack. But I was nowhere near the level Vedran was at, not knowing whether he would be sleeping under a roof or the stars. I felt proud of myself walking 300 km, he had traveled 6,000! I immediately felt a kind of camaraderie with him, like he was some sort long lost friend, two lost souls swimming in a fishbowl…

After the event, I approached him and told him how much I had enjoyed his presentation and admired his courage and determination in undertaking such an adventure. He gave me his business card and vowed to keep in contact, and did. As befits our modern times, we became Facebook friends and met occasionally at events that Sanja held at the library for the homeless. He even came to paint my house when he was still in Zagreb, readying himself to travel to France, and we got to know each other even better.

When I saw the first trickle of Facebook posts on his page such as “rest in peace” and the like, I could not believe it. I immediately text messaged Sanja and asked if it were true, had Vedran….passed away…? She didn’t know at that point but later confirmed the news – Vedran had passed away that Wednesday…the tears just flowed. Even though we weren’t the closest of friends, I felt very close to him nonetheless, like a kindred soul. I asked my husband to buy a candle and went to my special place in the woods where my beloved four-legged friends are buried and where I always go to seek solitude and reflection. I lit the candle and talked to Vedran, to God, to whoever was listening…

Why, I asked, why had this happened? Why to such a sweet, kind hearted, loving person? Didn’t he know how many people loved him, didn’t he realise how he had changed people’s lives for the better, that whoever met him couldn’t help falling in love with him, and what kind of hole he would leave with his parting?  No one answered.  But I think Sanja put it best – these are hard times to live in, especially for a soul such as Vedran…

I remember the words of Robin Williams when I think about Vedran: “I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless and they don’t want anyone else to feel like that.” You made a lot of people happy dear Vedran, your big, kind heart and sense of adventure were an inspiration to all of us and your warmth will stay with us through these cold, harsh times. You will be very sadly missed, I will look for you in the stars…

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