The week before Nenad left for his journey I had asked him to write a letter to each of the kids to say goodbye - just in case. In his usual way, with a smile and a shrug, he humored me and on the morning of his departure he handed me 5 sealed envelopes with 5 names. He had included one for me. But somehow in the rush and turmoil of his going, I had forgotten to write a letter for him. So today, on the occasion of his memorial, I am offering my letter to Neno.

December 16, 2001

Dear Neno,

That night you were lost at sea before you came to me, I lay in our bed and stared at the door noticing the shadows made by the small light on the nightstand, the light I had turned on when the phone rang. That night this very nice Lieutenant in his cultured Royal British Coast Guard voice told me he was afraid they had not found the boat after all, only the beacon and that the search plane would be there at dawn.

And I imagined the light from the beacon going out and out into the storm calling for nothing but itself. When just hours before we had joked, he and I, that they should bring you in whether you liked it or not---him saying these things get set off accidentally, some do and it would be up to the doctor, my saying, bring him in anyway, it's time he came home---and looking back I could see it was to calm my nerves and nothing more.

And the search planes would be in at dawn. Just hours to go. To look for a brave yellow speck bobbing along like a cork. "Locked up tight", you'd say. Such a child's delight you had in your toy. And soon in the light you'd be plucked from the sea and safe and sound ready for brandy and a scolding and maybe some tears. But inside of me I knew - as I waited for the dawn. And it would be dawn there long before it would be dawn here, 6 hours before. And then afternoon and then evening. And I thought to myself as I stared at the door. Tonight I am married; tomorrow I may be a widow, which dawn do I choose.

And as I lay watching the shadows, willing them to stay still and the dark outside to stay pinned to the windows, I felt such despair as if all that darkness outside were now inside and I would never be able to go on alone.

And then the most amazing thing happened. I might have dozed or something but suddenly, I felt myself enveloped by this most wonderful warmth. As if a thousand tiny arms of pure love were holding me but so light and beautiful there are no words to describe it, though over the weeks that followed I have looked through all of them. And this feeling stayed with me for quite a while until I was alone again. And then I knew you were gone and I knew you were free.

Now I know you were not a religious man. That scientific anti-Catholic nature of yours would not admit to God. But there was something you were seeking when you set out and it had to be more than the rocky Irish Coast. I hoped it was something more like spirit for I believe that's what came back to me that night. Full of sun and wind and warmth but beyond all that. Something you had become. Your purest self come back to me to wrap me up once more before you said goodbye and moved on.

So I am writing now to tell you that I got your message and am sharing it today with all those whom you loved and who loved you. That your journey took you someplace beyond imagining where you have found at last peace.

Love, Ellen