One rainy afternoon a few years ago, walking through my new neighborhood where I moved after bad personal and professional break up I ran into Matija, after a short chat we decided to go for a quick coffee. At that point I was I the worst shape I can remember physically and mentally, but somehow after that coffee, I felt better. Those coffee brakes started to get longer and more frequent turning into drunken nights and dancing, meeting new interesting people and discovering exceptional ideas. Little by little I was starting to feel not like my old self again, but someone new. Somewhere along the way, that friendship grew from a friend of a friend to deep meaningful friendship into without a doubt my best friend.
Professionally I have never met a person with whom I could with such ease and speed convey ideas without any need for explanations. The thing I loved most about him how he could inspire me to do the best work I can. He was so passionate about his work it was contagious. I would always feel energized and motivated after every coffee break with him. Being so close to him I was almost blind that my best friend was the most important person in the Croatian freelance scene. I only stopped to think about that when I would attend some of his numerous meetups and events. I regret so much that I didn’t go on one the European freelance meetups he was so fond of, from which he would return with the energy of a supernova, full motivation, and ideas he could change things for the best. I would tease him. – “Raos, you see the world through rose-colored glasses.”
After a while in small bits at a time, after looooong conversations about work, bit by bit, I got to know him as a true friend, loyal and devoted partner and loving and understanding son. It was surprising to me how for someone who could talk so much I know so little about his childhood and personal life, and how little he shared that with other people. Now I feel honored that he trusted me enough to share it with me.
Unfortunately, our coffee brakes could not heal him as they did me. On one of those coffee breaks, he started to have concerns about his health. And those coffee breaks became a visit to Matijas hospital room. In his illness, Matija was as exceptional as in health. In my 36 years, I have never seen a person go through the such and terrible ordeal with more dignity and grace.
It’s strange how illness creeps up on you masked as stress fatigue, and how our projects are more important than our body sending us alarms of distress. Matija would want all of you to be aware of this issue. It is easy to get lost in the details of careers. We all should take the time to raise our heads out of our work and take the time to hear our bodies and address the issues and ailments our speed up lives bring to us.
It goes without saying. Matija will always have a special place in my heart.
I will remember him as long as I live
I love you, my friend.
– Timy Šarec