When Elena called me on the morning of Wednesday, May 20, I quickly told her I didn’t have time and had pleased her she should be short. This is my standard response to phone calls when I draw. “Wait, I HAVE to tell you that. Emil died tonight. ”At that moment, I collapsed and a wave of pain ran through my body. I told the kids to bring me a pack of paper towels.
I am just one of many who have been deeply affected by Emil’s death. Emil was quiet and polite. By nature restrained and serious. He was a key member of the YHD team. This small energetic group first set up a system of assistance for its members, while constantly fighting for the right to personal assistance to become the right of all people in need of such assistance. Countless series of protests, articles, interviews, conferences and a series of exhausting lawsuits testify to the strong resistance of people and interest groups who did not like the change.
The first article of the Personal Assistance Act states:
This Act regulates the right to personal assistance and the manner of its exercise in order to enable an individual with long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments, which in connection with various barriers may be limited to participate fully and effectively in the same way as others. equal opportunities, greater independence, activity and equal inclusion in society in all areas of life.
We usually think about the poems, but this time we give a chance to this long legal sentence. In it we can feel the monumental effort of the people who achieved its adoption.
In the struggle for personal assistance, I see parallels with the American struggle for civil rights. Rosa Parks sat in a chair on a bus in Alabama in 1955. She refused the driver’s order to relinquish the seat to the white man. She knew she was violating a law that clearly prescribed that blacks must withdraw when whites run out of seats in the ‘white’ part of the bus. She also knew that such a law was unfair and needed to be changed.
Emil, too, was sitting his fight. When the National Assembly passed the Personal Assistance Act in 2017, it was a great success for all who worked for it. The text of the law suffered some compromises that were demanded by politicians, but the law was passed.
Emil didn’t waste words. He was like the silent Beatle George Harrison. Harrison was the one who gave the Liverpool band a calm rhythm and brought in new, sometimes unusual sounds. Emil was Harrison for YHD. Like glue, he connected the group together. So we will miss him so much.
Significant breakthroughs happen in tandem. Even the Allied invasion of Normandy was led by a dynamic duo of two remarkable generals: the genius Omar Bradley took care of the precise organization, and the presumptuous George Patton made a relentless penetration deep into Nazi-occupied territory.
Elena is Patton, Emil is Bradley. Elena is Lennon, Emil is Harrison.
In the summer of 2016, we spent two months in a hot room where I helped him type a thesis for his graduation on faculty. We read and debated the history of economics together. The deadline for submission was approaching, but Emil was tough and persistent as a horse. I was drawn to just about everything related to him: the way he read lying down, his slow typing on the on-screen keyboard, his order on the bookshelf, and the multitude of little rules I had to follow to keep his day’s routine safe. In the end, I even fell in love with the sound of the aspirator and the bubbling sound when cleaning the device.
I will miss his short sentences. He spoke the words slowly while chasing the rhythm of the aspirator. Maybe that’s why his thoughts carried such weight. Not only an extremely capable organizer is leaving with Emil, but a man I loved, loved and respected.
When I think of the power of his thoughts, I have a giant before my eyes. When I remember carrying a spoonful of food into his mouth, a small, vulnerable man with glasses, eternal patches on his trachea, and gentle eyes. As he laughed, a scratching noise was heard in his throat. Now I miss even that sound.
Heroes come among us in various forms. This one came in a wheelchair and with a good twenty pounds of body weight. A general, an organizer, a philosopher, a teacher, and a heartfelt friend in one person.
Emil’s latest health complication reveals a hole in our health system that has been altered by the pandemic. He was not allowed to have an assistant with him at the hospital. There was a lack of concern that could have prevented a series of small mistakes. These added up and led to serious complications. When he got pneumonia, he went home of his own free will. In home care, his condition began to improve just in the days before he died.
He said goodbye calmly, not yet 50 years old. In the song All Things Must Pass, George Harrison wrote:
the sunset cannot last all evening
in your mind you will be able to blow away those clouds
after all, my love is complete and now is the time to go,
for the sky will not be so gray day after day
all things pass
all things must pass
I HAVE to tell you that. Emil died tonight. He was a gentle man with a lion’s heart. He was patient and persistent. He was a law and he changed the law. I MUST tell you this: we love him endlessly.
Ciril Horjak, former personal assistant, friend of Emil Bohinc