Gratitude

IMG_5490.JPGI was twenty-six years old. A happy, shiny, restless girl who was enjoying the life to its full extent in Munich. I was a student, having many international friends and taking everything that the city had to offer. I had a student job, a nice little cute student dorm to live in and lots of free time to fill with activities. Soon though, restless as I am, all these experiences started not to fulfill me and once again the urge started to show up in me to leave, to go far away, to discover new places, people, and experiences. Precisely this urge had brought me to Germany from Istanbul, and now again it was forcing me to move on.

My wish to leave was so strong that I could not resist. I got lucky. I got a scholarship to go to the USA, to the Computer Science department of the Kansas State University. A few months later I found myself in Kansas.

I still remember that day. It was the first week of August in 2002. The international office of the university had organized an orientation seminar for the newly arrived foreign students. It was in an auditorium, and the campus was so big that it took me ages to find it. I have an awful sense of orientation. When I arrived I was late for at least ten minutes. When I entered the auditorium I found a hundred pairs of eyes staring at me down towards the doorstep. So embarrassing. I apologized and took a seat.

In the afternoon there was a picnic for the foreign students. I met a little group of Swedish students. One of them approached, a tall slim guy with wonderful green eyes and a very soft, friendly face and a heartwarming smile. “Hi, I am Goran, I saw you, you were late”. And he smiled. I smiled back. I did not know yet that I had met the love of my life.

Three months later Goran and I were a couple. It is hard for me to name it as a “couple only” because it feels like it does not describe what we had. Goran and I were soul mates,  companions, best friends, the two halves of one. We were one. We were like two lost children who had finally found each other in this big big world and we were going to be together until death sets us apart.  Everything else was impossible. It was like magic, and everybody could see it. We were shining and glowing and people around us could almost touch this light radiating from us.

A few months later we returned together to Europe. One year later Goran moved to Munich and we married. It was a wonderful December day in Stockholm and we said yes to each other in this little courtroom overlooking the sea. A most precious memory in my life.

Goran and I were together 10 years. Ten wonderful years that I am grateful for. I would not want to miss a single day, I would not want to change a single day.

We said goodbye to each other before the death could set us apart. I remember that day. It was a September day in Munich, and we waved each other goodbye at the train station. I think it has been the saddest day in my life.

Goran and I had loved each other, it was almost transcendental. It was so deep, so connected, so indescribable. We loved each other with the full heart of two lost and hurt children. We grew up together and while growing up we lost each other. We tried to reach out back, we tried to reconnect, we tried to find again what we lost fearing at the same time to admit that we lost. We held hands as tight as ever, but we felt growingly lonely.  On that September day, we said goodbye. I think the saddest day in my life.

Seven years past that day, I am now another person. Life gave me other sad and other happy days since then. I grew while still trying to keep the little child in myself. I would not have done anything differently; we had to say yes and then no to each other so that each of us can become the persons we are today. Healthier, and more in touch with oneself. I never thought I would love again that way. I did. It took 5 years, but I did. I loved again that way as a grown-up this time. Thank you, Goran for the wonderful 10 years. Thank you, life for everything you gave me in my 42 years. I would not want to change a single day.

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.

John F. Kennedy

 

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