Goodbye, Vlad

By Johna Till Johnson

I’m terribly sorry to have to report that my best friend, paddle partner, husband, and love, Vladimir Brezina, died  Tuesday, December 13, at 7:20 PM, after surviving for 2.5 years with cancer.

My heart breaks, and a light has gone out in the world. But I have vowed to embody Vlad’s spirit of generosity, love of adventure and exploration, and appreciation of beauty in all forms. It will never be the same without him, but what he gave to the world will live on.

I plan to post a proper obituary in the days (maybe weeks) to come. And I plan to continue WindAgainstCurrent, but alas the quality of the photography will never be the same, as I don’t have Vlad’s brilliant eye and editing patience.

vlad-smiling-with-paddles-and-bridge-cropped

Vladimir Brezina 6/1/58-12/13/16

135 responses to “Goodbye, Vlad

  1. Oh my, I am sorry for your loss.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m sorry for your loss. He will be missed.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am so, so sorry, Johna. There are no words I can use to help you at the moment. A huge loss to everyone and I send you the most powerful, soothing thoughts possible.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My deepest condolences in his passing. Enjoy your memories and the love that you shared. These never leave and can be a warm comfort in the days and years to come.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Reading this brings tears to my eyes…the great adventures you have had together, really living, being together. It is your personal experience but by generously sharing you give a gift to all your readers so that we may learn to allow ourselves adventures and try to really live as you both have.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Johna, I’m so very sorry. I have followed your wonderful adventures through reading Wind Against Current for a long time and every post was special. You were such a team! Vlad had very special qualities that came across in all his posts. Such a passion for life! I’m glad you will be carrying on the blog because it’s unique – and I look forward to your posts when you can because you are a wonderful story teller. Meanwhile you are in my thoughts and I wish you comfort and love especially this Christmas. XXX

    Liked by 2 people

    • Johna Till Johnson

      Thank you dapplegrey. I won’t stop posting, and will have to learn how to do a decent job with photography… but I will never be able to recapture his sensibility, no matter how many times I ask his spirit to guide me.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. May all the fond memories you shared travel with you forever.
    Blessings and love sent your way, Eddie

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I am truly sorry for your loss. As a long-term reader, I know I can say with certainty that we will all miss Vlad!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Condolences, only paddled with him a few times, but it was always interesting and in in good company!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh. My deep condolences. I have been following your blogs in the last few years and really enjoy your adventure with Vlad. I’m so sorry for your loss. Stay strong there. Warm hugs from here…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I am very sorry for your loss Johna.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Send you many good thoughts, Johna. So very sorry to hear about Vladimir.
    All my best wishes,
    Hanna

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m saddened to read this, Johna. I never had the pleasure of meeting Vlad in person, but wrote a profile of him for NYC Swim’s newsletter a few years back and have been a faithful follower of your blog here ever since. I wish you peace and comfort in the coming days.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I am so saddened, Johna. Like many, I only knew him through the blog. Still, I have had the sense of accompanying the two of you on many adventures. I cannot imagine your loss.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Johna,

    I am so, so sorry.

    Rick Feiner

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I’m very sorry for your loss.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Johna, I am very sorry for your loss. I have been following your adventures through Wind Against Current. Every single post here was amazing. Vlad was a brilliant narratographer. We will miss him. Stay strong. Wish you peace and comfort.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I’m so sorry Johna. I was just wondering why the blogs had been silent for a while. All the best I can feel the sadness. Regards A

    Liked by 1 person

  19. If a word would help, I would write you a book. All we can say is, We are sorry for your loss. Dan

    Like

  20. I’m so sorry for your loss. I have been mostly silent reader but let me say now thank you for a lot of interesting posts with Vladimir.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Oh Johna, I am so saddened to hear of Vlad’s passing. I have so enjoyed hearing of your adventures through Wind Against Current. In particular, about kayaking on the Hudson because I live in NJ. I have also appreciated Vlad’s comments on my blog the last couple years. Sending you my sincere condolences and saying a prayer for you and your family.
    ~Mar

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I am so sorry for your loss. I always enjoyed reading about your adventures and seeing all the photos. Sending you wishes of peace and strength. Please be gentle with yourself.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Vlad was on my advisory committee at Mount Sinai. I asked him to be on my committee because he was a really good listener, incredibly kind, and a wonderful neuroscientist. He was really a positive force at Mount Sinai and for that I’ll always be grateful.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Oh Johna, though we’ve never met, I have happily followed your journeys for several years. My heart literally sunk as I read your post. I always looked forward to seeing Vlad’s interpretation of the Weekly Photo Challenge and was honored when he “liked” one of my submissions. I hope you receive comfort from knowing many were impacted by Vlad’s life, those who navigated life with him in reality and vicariously through the blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Oh Johna, I am so so sorry to hear about Vlad. What a wonderful couple you two were and I know he is kayaking up above, watching us down below. I know and understand the void you are feeling but all those great memories, times, paddles and adventures will pull you through the hard times. You both are so well loved.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I’m so sorry to hear the news Johna! It’s a wonderful thing that he lived such a full life during the time he was given and had so many wonderful adventures with you! The blog is a legacy to the joy he felt being out on the water and in your company. I am glad that you will keep the blog going and don’t be surprised if you start learning more about photography and defining your own style now that those tasks have fallen to you! Vlad will be an inspiration for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Johna,

    My heart goes out to you. I will hold you and Vlad in the light.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. We’re terribly sorry to read about your loss, Johna. We send you our sincere condolences.
    Best regards, Hanne and Klausbernd

    Liked by 1 person

  29. So sad news, so sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. So very sorry for your loss. Hugs from my heart to yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. I’m so very, very sorry Johna!

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Johna–I am so very sorry. Vlad was a guiding light for me in by very small foray into kayaking. His kind words will be sorely missed. Take care of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Shocked, and saddened to read this, Johna. Such a loss, and so young. For the past few years I’ve loved the posts and pictures you and he have brought to my computer, sharing in the love of the waterways around the city, boating in general, your insightful preparations and descriptions of the challenges, and successes so well presented though the words and photos. Jeanne and I send our condolances to you and your loved ones. Marty ( M:-( )

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Oh Johna, this was a sad shock for me to read tonight. I too have been wondering about the silence on WindAgainstCurrent, my favorite adventure blog. The blogiverse has lost a giant star tonight, and my heart goes out to you who has lost the dearest treasure. I loved sharing stories and comments with Vlad. My deepest sympathies.
    Janet

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Terrance O'Malley

    I am deeply saddened by your loss Johna. Vlad was a very unique individual, and a major part of the NYC kayaking community. I will miss his keen insight, and humble ways.

    Sincerely,

    Terry

    Liked by 1 person

  36. I’m so sad and sorry to hear this Johna. I was privileged to have Vlad paddling beside me in my first marathon swim. I enjoyed his comforting and steadfast presence, and benefitted greatly from his uncanny ability to find the best currents. The marathon swimming and kayak communities will miss him greatly. I’m glad you will be continuing the blog–I’ve really enjoyed reading about your adventures on the water.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. I don’t even know what to say. I have been absent from blogging, but I still like to check in. You have my thoughts. Thank you for finding the strength to let us all know. Blessings to you and all that have been graced by this blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Johna, I am sorry for your loss. He did take amazing pictures sharing the beauty of life with us all. My thoughts are with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. So sorry to hear such sad news. It was always a pleasure to read his posts, he will be missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Johna I am so very sorry to read this post. I had been wondering about the quiet on the blog and as a nurse hoped I might be wrong. My sincere and heartfelt sympathy to you. I can not even imagine your sorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Oh. My. Goodness.
    I am so sorry for your loss. Our loss.
    I pray that you may continue through life, carrying with you his joy, excitement, passion, and love.
    While we out here in cyber land will miss his images and heartfelt words, iit is but a drop in the bucket compared to the loss you must feel. Please accept our hugs and support.
    Love to you and your families. Sincerely, Sandra

    Liked by 1 person

  42. I am very sorry for your loss! But he will live in you!

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Deeply sorry to read this.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. I’m so very sorry to read this, Johna. Vlad will be greatly missed.

    Liked by 1 person

  45. I am really sorry to read about your bereavement, Johna. Both Vlad and you made for a great couple. My deepest condolences and prayers for the departed soul. Life may never be the same; yet it needs to be taken forward. I hope you discover the strength and purpose to move on. Godspeed….

    Liked by 2 people

  46. Dear Johna, my heart goes out to you. Vlad gave so much. I’m thinking of you through this sad time. But please know we will be following, wherever you take us next.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Johna Till Johnson

      Tish, that’s the kindest thing you could possibly have said. Vlad would be heartbroken if the blog were to end. I will never be the photographer that he was, so it will never be the same–but I can promise that it will not end.

      Thank you!

      Liked by 2 people

  47. I have no words to express my shock Johna! So very, very sorry for your loss. Heartfelt sympathies to you and your families.

    Liked by 1 person

  48. I am so sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  49. Hi Johna, so sorry for loss. Vlad will be missed.

    Liked by 1 person

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