New Life

Mom and I went to visit my friends from Kosovo last night.

We haven’t seen them in almost two years, I am guessing and I was feeling very badly. We met when our Fellowship sponsored the family as refugees from the war in Kosovo. We all became friends as well as sponsors and were torn when half the family went back to Kosovo. We were saddened further when Qamille, the grandmother of the family died a few months after returning to Pristina, their home.

However, before the family left, the son and his wife had their first child, Kosovare. In fact, I was there for the birth, giving me the chance to have the most memorable experience in my life.

The eldest daughter returned home to Kosovo a little later, and gradually we lost touch. The family here, though, was growing. Another child was on the way. Sadly, Altina was born at 16 weeks, and despite a valiant struggle for life, she died months later, at about the date she should have been born, had fate not intervened. It was heartbreaking for all of us who felt so close to the family. It was devastating to see the impact on the young parents.

According to Muslim tradition, there is a lengthy preparation before the funeral and the preparations are carried out by members of the Muslim community, friends and family. The preparations include the washing of the body and wrapping it in a winding cloth. I was really honored to participate in the preparations. For me, the fact that I had seen one of their daughters into the world, I felt that I should be there to help another out of the world. It was sad and beautiful, and gave be the chance to experience another facet of life that all of us face but rarely so closely, at least in our Western Christianize culture.

I saw the family several times after this, but one thing and another kept us apart.

On our last visit, I played with Kosovare, then aged 2. We watched the air-balloons go by… one crashed on the side of the building, and we had a lovely time. However, I was conscious that this was our first visit as friends and, yet, despite our being so easy with the family as their sponsors and considering ourselves to be friends, I didn’t want them to feel obligated to be friends.

Last week, I got an email from Advije in Kosovo, updating me on her life and that of her family. She has a 9-month-old son named Andi. The family is well, and all was well. She also told me that the young couple here had another baby. I was thrilled, though sad that I hadn’t been able to participate in the birth this time around.

I called Agron and Nexmije and Mom and I went to visit. It was a terrific visit, not the least because of the presence of Klevis, two weeks old. I found that our relationship is firmly that of dear friends and I needn’t have worried about them feeling “obligated” to be friends. We are and it is wonderful.

Nexmije said that she regretted my not having been with her for the birth. They had tried to call, but didn’t have me new phone number and my old cellphone was no longer working. Ah well, Klevis is hearty and healthy, and that is all that counts. As you can see below, he is a beautiful, beautiful baby.

Klevis, age 2 weeks

Separated at Birth?

Rob Lutes


Vincent D’Onofrio

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