Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Best Way Out is Always Through

In a little over 2 months, it will be two years since my mother passed away. I still haven't deleted her number from my phone. I don't know why. I don't think about these things anymore, if I can help it.

There are still many days where I feel like I did nothing right. The feeling of complete and utter helplessness—feeling like I could do nothing but passively sit by and watch her die—still destroys me. The relationship we had when she was alive was tremulous at best, but everything I am and everything I have is because of her, and so I reflect on the positive because I know things could be so much worse.

Having been through all that, my perception towards what struggle, heartbreak, and stress really is has changed significantly. For better or for worse.

Monday, December 26, 2016

The Future is Inherently a Good Thing

As we gradually move into the colder, grayer days of winter, I am reminded that last year was the most trying and difficult season I have ever had to trudge through.

In December 2015, after months of debilitating and agonizing pain, my mother broke her hip. We later found out it was because her lung cancer had returned and metastasized to her bones. I spent last Christmas screaming at hospital administrators and doctors to have her broken hip and damage bone replaced.

January 2016, my mother was placed in a nursing home following her hip surgery for rehabilitation. The cat came to live with me.

On January 16, 2016, I went to visit my mother at the nursing home and unknowingly took the last picture I'd ever take with her.

Two days later she had a stroke in the middle of the night and stopped breathing. I received a callous phone call from the nursing home letting me know which hospital she as "probably" taken to. I went there the next morning to find her unresponsive and on a ventilator. I signed DNR and next of kin paperwork.

Several days later, she was taken off the ventilator but was unable to speak, swallow, or move her legs.

I spent the next two weeks in a clueless haze where doctors told me nothing other than my mother needed surgery for a feeding tube to be put in her stomach because the one in her nose was only temporary. She was sedated and catatonic and had to wear mittens so she wouldn't pull it out. And so I touched her hair and held her gloved hands and told her I loved her when we made eye contact even though I wasn't sure she understood.

Eventually I made the decision to allow my mother to die with what dignity she could. So the words "palliative care" and "hospice" flooded my Internet search history because nobody at the hospital was telling me anything, giving me information, or helping. And three weeks after she had the stroke, she was moved to a hospice facility for cancer patients.

Two days later on Friday, February 19, 2016 my mother died. I spent the following week scraping money together and scrambling to make cremation arrangements.

And when I made it through the worst winter of my life to the first day of spring on March 30, 2016, I got tattooed because I so desperately needed to be reminded that my world wasn't over.

"The future is inherently a good thing, and we move into it one winter at a time."

I lost the only family member I was close to, survived my worst nightmare, and learned that death is a process and grief is strange. But I made it through winter.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Run Away

in these moments
i can't help but wonder
what life i could've had
if i hadn't run away.

Friday, October 7, 2016


unrelenting kindness and forgiveness
was burned out of me at a young age
and died with her.

seek it elsewhere.

Friday, September 30, 2016

What Do I Do Now?

Photo: September 30, 2011

seven months and ten days ago
i received the worst phone call of my life.
"hello. is this ms. spasov?" the doctor on the line asked, mispronouncing my name.
"yes," i responded, not bothering to correct him.
"i'm so sorry to tell you, your mother passed away."
my stomach sank
and i asked the only question i could think to ask:
"what do i do now?"

it's been seven months and ten days
and i don't understand grief any better.
i still feel arbitrary pangs of suffocating guilt and sadness,
like accidentally touching an exposed wire,
i never expect it.

seven months and ten days ago
i wasn't thinking about the things that concern me now.
i never thought about the milestones
she wouldn't be there to see.

it's been seven months and ten days
and when i come across photos of her,
i stare.
i study her face like i've never seen it before
because i'll never see it again.