Farewell dear daddy (1936-2014)

tata

We fought that horrible battle all right, me, my dad and my mom, all alone. It is only today that I mustered some strength to come here and say something, make myself heard. I’ve never experienced something that much dreadful in my life and no matter what anybody can tell you about cancer and how brutal it is, it is only when you see it firsthand taking away one of the closest persons you have in front of your very powerless eyes – which I don’t wish on the worst person in this world – that you can truly understand why it is considered so hellish. It was cancer all right. And of all the damn cancers in this world, the worst and the deadliest one. Pancreatic cancer. We have two ultrasound results, several X ray images, gastroscopy results and the CT scan, but there are no biopsies to be dead certain, although it fits the description perfectly. There was no time. Time was leaking through those tiny space between our fingers too fast for anything to be done. The metastatic lesions were first discovered on August 23rd which was an incredible shock for me. Today, after downpours and downpours of tears I am in much greater shock knowing that my father lived only 20 days after his diagnose. He passed away on September 12th in such a terrible way, suffering from pains and in some inexplicable agony, on my very hands. I did manage to beg the ambulance to arrive and he took his last breaths in their presence, attached to the ECG, which showed flatter and flatter line, till everything got hushed up and ended in surreal silence. That silence still haunts me whenever I move around the house, it is as if I need something massive like an entire mountain to fill the emptiness that is left behind him.

There is no peace, there is no comfort, there is no resolution. We didn’t get a proper chance to try to offer him any sort of cure, even though there is almost no cure for pancreatic cancer, even when discovered early on, let alone at this stage. It’s the most ominous cancer of all not only because of its astonishing aggressiveness, but because in the majority of cases it doesn’t give you hardly any proper warning till it metastasized. Till it’s too late, for everything and everybody. We didn’t get a proper chance to say a real goodbye to one another because all of us, dad included, didn’t believe first at the diagnose, then at the possibility that it could take him away at such horrendous speed. It is just as bad as it can get when cancer is involved, but even pancreatic cancer usually gives you several weeks or several months if not a year or two… to finish some unresolved issues, to express wishes, to give instructions to those that will stay behind you. We weren’t that lucky. There is a very slim chance to get hit by a lightning or win a huge lottery prize, but such things still strike. We hit the jackpot when it comes to bad luck in life… or it was simply as one doctor said that my dad was such a strong and tough man that he carried out the cancer story oblivious of it till its end on his two feet, which is very unusual and quite remarkable. Considering all his other lab results and the fact that he never really lay in bed for more than a couple of days with a flu in spite of the diabetes he very successfully fought with for 22 years, he could have lived for another 15 years at least as they say. Maybe, maybe not. Many times doctors actually don’t have a clue. What remains incredible is that my dad on August 9th worked strenuously in his garden, drove the car and carried home kilos and kilos of tomatoes, feeling just slightly more tired than usual. A month later, we had to organize his funeral.

Preparing the funeral was honestly a story by itself… Funerals are digitally organized in such an incredible manner in a rotten country where my dad was admitted to a hospital which is in completely brutal state – old beds with mattresses falling apart, no pillows for everybody, no blankets, no clean bed sheets for as long as you stay in hospital, cockroaches dancing around rooms, and on the top of this mountain of misery, a horror story contrast – blond, young female doctor, perfect style and makeup, pretentious, lacking any sort of empathy or human emotions, but obviously pretty rich. That woman could easily buy full equipment for those miserable 5 beds in that sad men’s endocrinology room and not even feel any budget difference, yet she was much more interested in kicking my father out of the hospital when it was confirmed that he was a palliative, i.e. lost case. This person who filled my father to the fullest with insulin to clear his ketoacidosis in order to discharge him as fast as possible probably never heard that insulin is among other things a growth hormone, and that such a speedy flush out of keton bodies is not recommendable at all with cancer patients because it simply speeds the tumor growth, yet she still had a nerve to verbally confront me. I just wanted my dad to have a proper care, I was quite aware that hospital sucks in many ways, but still it is a place where he could get full time IV fluids, injections of pain medication and TPN as towards the end he ate and drank less and less. She shouted at me in front of him that “he can’t live in hospital, you know!”, to which I replied moving to a safe distance from him – and you, with all your “medical knowledge” are trying to say that he will live? Here, at home, or at any other place? Live? The following day when she discharged him, I told her that talking that way and with such a tone of voice in front of a dying patient is not ok at all, and that she shouldn’t work with people. I’m not ashamed of what I said, because it’s a pure fact. My father was dying. I could have flipped, shouted, cried, fainted in front of her, yet I was always very quiet and polite, holding all the horror and grief inside. Even if I were impolite, she as a medical worker should have understood it, but it was clear enough that she had no compassion at all. For Christ’s sake, my dad, my one and only dad was dying. Then something very painful happened – her expensive mobile phone rang and she answered it even though it was a private call with these words – oh hello daddy, did you finish the paperwork? It was as if she stabbed me right into my pancreas. I was counting last days with my dad, while she treated me like hell and spoke to her dad with whom she had indefinite time at her disposal. God forgive me, but I wished her all the worst in my mind many times. I still can’t understand how such a person can be a doctor. She told me that I should be grateful instead. Grateful? Of what? Of megadoses of insulin that contributed to speeding his death? Of prescribing a patient who barely ate 22 i.u. of morning insulin on the day 5 in hospital due to which he entered hypoglycemic coma and his blood glucose was immeasurable, they barely managed to bring him back to life? Of injecting him 18 i.u. of insulin on the day he left hospital so that on that very evening we noticed huge sweating and measured glucose at 2.4, due to which we loaded him with all sugar he could eat (he hasn’t eaten that much sugar in last 22 years)? Of not instructing me how to use insulin pen and telling a nurse to do it, who failed to inform me that a loaded pen isn’t supposed to be kept in a fridge and that his insulin type was a mixture, which means you have to strongly shake it before injecting it so that it can resuspend? Of letting me stand while she spoke about his death, sitting in her chair with her back turned to me, staring at her computer? Of not giving me any blood values so that I could compare values from before entering the hospital and his progress? All in all, I should be grateful to her for doing her job, being such a lousy doctor at the same time? Ironically, my dad was a doctor, too. If she had no compassion for a human being, she could at least have had understanding for a colleague who used to wear that same white coat up to 13 years ago when he retired. No way, that was too much to ask I suppose. She said she never saw something like that – “something like that” was a person, my dad. I believe her. She is most probably younger than me, so her experience is really “huge”. Plus there is one massive point she missed in this whole story – she most certainly isn’t and probably never will be an oncologist, if she were one she would see much worse tumor marker values every day all right. In the end she told me that I had a bad attitude and to get lost… I don’t have words for your attitude, I replied and then I obeyed the “getting lost” part… while I was shutting the door, she cynically shouted “goodbye and have a pleasant day”! I opened the door again and said PLEASANT? I mean, my life is falling apart, my mind is falling apart, my family is falling apart and I’m taking a dying patient home where I don’t have a private nurse, IVs and everything else he can’t take by mouth, and she says have a pleasant day? May things get this pleasant in your life, I said, and slammed her door.

Slamming her door meant opening door to hell itself in our modest home – there was no way to afford private care, dad was trying to convince us that he was managing, he fought to eat, drink, take meds, but every day he went rapidly downhill, one day was like an entire month for some other pancreatic cancer patient. I constantly measured his sugar levels and gave him only half the amount of prescribed insulin when needed… we changed diapers, we moved him up and down as he was constantly in pain and choking, in spite of the largest doses of opioids he could take. His stomach was filled with fluid this darling doctor and all other doctors in town refused to drain to give him a little bit of relief. On the last evening I sealed a morphine patch on him, but he didn’t live long enough for it to start working.

Then I had to survive the ambulance pronouncing death, but with their death certificate he couldn’t be buried. We had to call a medical examiner to come, inspect the body and allow the funeral. Medical examiner’s office immediately informed private undertakers who called from a hidden number so that we couldn’t know who made the connection, because that’s illegal. It’s our right to chose the funeral organization and they tried to impose the people who give them percentage. Horrific. We shook them off successfully, but had to be in the room where the medical examiner examined the “body” in our presence. For me, it was daddy. Daddy sleeping. I still couldn’t grasp what happened. Then we had a visit from a legal undertaker… I’ve never seen such an efficiency. I was still in shock an disbelief when this man put an iPad in front of me and told me to choose a coffin, equipment, cross, etc. “Just flip the pages and when you find something you like, press the upper left corner to see the price…” Something I like??? What was he talking about… When my grandmother was buried 17 years ago, there were printed catalogs and my parents took care of everything. I’ve never buried anybody in my life. Now, all of a sudden, it all felt on my shoulders, hardly 2 hours after his death. Everything was digitally arranged, one click her, one click there, receipts, pay this, pay that, every step of that funeral had some price. Abominable, as it was happening in a country where patients lie in cockroach infested hospitals and where a retired medical doctor with perfectly good medical insurance couldn’t “live” in hospital, being a dying case. Then my mother ran to the bank and I was all alone and shaking when the coffin arrived. Three strong scary men and a tiny one, who was supposed to dress my dad. And I was alone. I have PD, you remember? My hands were shaking out of control, yet I helped with everything. Mom returned on time, but she couldn’t bear to go out as they were carrying the coffin out of the building. I went with them, alone again. I watched them put the coffin into their vehicle and I had to make sure they fastened the proper lid onto it. And to wave a final goodbye forever, completely alone.

That night I got sick with flu. Exactly 7 days earlier I went to my dad’s GP to get a whole bag of meds with which I was supposed to carry out that battle with cancer at home, and there was a girl who said she had a fever and sore throat. Great, I thought, but then I forgot completely about it. It turned out that the virus didn’t forget me. By the end of the next evening I was sad like hell, had a fever of 101 and horrible pains in each and every muscle of my body. I cried because of what happened and how it happened, I cried of despair, anger, fear, of physical pain… but one thing kept me still in one peace. “If dad could endure what he endured, I have to survive this as well and put myself onto my feet in two days to be at that funeral”. He dealt bravely with cancer pain, so there is no way I could fall apart. No way. Funeral… even the very idea of it was terrible, because of the event itself, but also because as he didn’t express any precise wish, I wanted him to lie together with my granny. That graveyard is TOTALLY out of my comfort zone. Out of town. I’ve never been there in these last 7 years. It was out of question. And now I had to go there and not go crazy in front of those who were to attend the funeral. Quite a mission… I fell apart a bit when we reached the grave and when I saw the grandma’s tombstone and her picture, everybody thought it was just because of dad, only me and my mom knew what it meant underneath. I brought this picture of my dad with me to leave it on his grave, this is how I want to remember him. I took this picture with my camera, with my own hands and I brought it as my last personal gift for him. He was a man who loved life and his garden more than anything, always smiling, always pushing ahead, always walking around, always fixing something, things, people, animals… but he couldn’t fix cancer. I don’t want to remember that defenseless, weak, thin man he turned into and the scenes of dying, because by that time, my dad, the person who he really was had already left me.

I don’t know if he can hear me now, but there are so many things I’d still have to tell him and I didn’t have time for it. I wish he could return for one night only so that I could tell him how much I loved him and how much I miss him. How sad I am that he left this world knowing that nothing is safe or secured in my life, unable to be proud of me in any way. I would need him to speak just one more time, to tell me that he wasn’t totally disappointed with me. PD destroyed everything, I fought the best I could, but I needed some more time. I’m sorry daddy, but I was unfortunately born the way I am. I can only promise that I’ll try to continue to fight somehow to make things better, but I can’t promise that I’ll succeed. I wish there were less emptiness around me. I wish you were still here… Damn it, I miss you so much, why did you have to go, and in such a dreadful way.. 😦

Rest in peace dear daddy… and wait for me up there somewhere. Your sufferings ended, and mine will some day as well. I watched the movie about Frida Kahlo the other night again, she was a famous Mexican painter who had many health problems and eventually died in horrible pains. The movie ends with her words – “I hope the exit is joyful, and I hope never to return.” My daddy repeated in his last two or three days how horrible life is and begged to die as soon as possible. It was terribly hard to listen to this, but I understand him. Psychologically, I’ve been carrying around so much pain for many years and I’ve felt so well the cruelties of life on my very skin. Somebody said – You don’t have to get killed to lose your life. I’m still here, but I lost my life many years ago. Now I lost my dad as well. I have no idea how I will deal with what future still has to bring for me, but I just hope that my little family will be together again some day, in some better place. No pain, no fear, no grief, no separation. Daddy, don’t abandon me completely, I beg you. Wait for me.

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9 thoughts on “Farewell dear daddy (1936-2014)

  1. Now you have grief over the death of your father, your anger is normal. Cancer is horrible, a terrible thing. I am very sorry this happened to your family.

    I hope you do not forget that you have friends like me.

    1. Thank you dear Judy… there are no words to describe well enough how horrible cancer is, and the biological way how pancreatic cancer kills a person is totally beyond human belief. I’m not that much angry as I am sad and afraid, I just wish everything happened in some little bit more human way, in a different environment, with a kinder doctor. People have no idea how cruel medical system in Serbia is nowadays after the end of those socialist i.e. people friendly times, but that is something we have to endure, nobody needs cruel doctors to make everything worse. My dad was a very kind doctor and people loved him very much for his kindness, he worked so much in his lifetime and treated thousands of patients, so I just think that he deserved at least a couple of kind words in the end and not the treatment he received, that is what makes me angry. I understand there was no cure and I never asked for a miracle, I am pretty quiet person and I always helped everybody with everything I could so it’s hard for me to understand why people behave badly with no reason. I could be angry with life and illness I suppose, but I’m too sad for that. I just wish things could be the way they used to be, but that is not possible.
      Thank you very much for being there. Big hug, Tanja

  2. Hi Tanja. That is a wonderful picture. Your father was a very handsome man and you describe him as a fine man as well. I offer my most sincere condolences to you and your mother.
    Your post paints a picture of a terrible healthcare/hospice system. Death is hard to witness, especially for you witnessing your father’s death. The system need not make it worse. But it did make it worse. I understand your anger. It is OK to be angry. It is probably good to have a target for your anger. Just don’t express that anger in a violent way, though I expect you already know that.
    I have witnessed the death of a loved one by cancer. It is terrible. Beyond terrible. It is terrible here in America, just as it is in Serbia. Our system may by more kind, or at least pretend to be, but the death is not easier to witness. I’m glad for you that it is over. I’m sure you won’t forget it, but over it is.
    Meanwhile, you can overcome this. You must. Here and now. On earth! You will meet your father again when you die. When you do, be prepared to show him that you took his example and pulled yourself through. That is what he will want to see. He will wait for you. Make him wait and make him proud when he sees you again. I have detected in our conversations that you might consider failure an option. I disagree. Failure is not an acceptable option. Maybe it is just the sunny, optimistic American in me, but I am telling you Tanja, you can pull through and find your own peace. And I am as sure as I can be that your father is rooting for you and wishing the best for you. Show him your love by showing him you can pull through. He will be proud. That fine, handsome man you call Daddy.
    Plus, I think the mere fact that you wrote this post. That fact that you expressed your anger and your sadness and that you put it out there for anyone to read is an amazing and courageous first step. Congratulations! Thank you for taking that important step. I’m hopeful.
    Again, I offer my condolences to you and your mother. I wish you well. I really do.
    Jim

    1. You know what? I’m wrong. This post wasn’t the first step. I just reread a bunch of steps. You didn’t flip. You bore the absurdity of the ipad funeral planning. It sounds like you handled it with a certain silent, though seething, dignity. Those are some impressive steps. Keep stepping. 🙂

    2. Dear Jim, you’re one very very special person, don’t you ever forget that, ok?
      Your words filled my eyes with tears, but those are good tears, tears when you realize that there are still great people out there wishing you well – as long as people like you exist, there is still hope and purpose in this life. My father was indeed a very handsome man when he was young and he always looked much younger than his age – I resemble him very much, in many ways. Thank you very much for condolences, I appreciate it a lot. My anger is definitely turned to this horrible medical system which is our sad reality, but in the end even in bad conditions doctors are those who make the difference, and I had to run precisely into one very bad person indeed. I know that there are doctors and doctors, but you know what, I’d understand even a Dr. House type of doctor – if you don’t have heart, then show me some brilliant knowledge to compensate the lack of other human qualities. When on the contrary you encounter the lack of knowledge and the lack of heart and bad language and communication all together, it leaves you with quite a sour taste in your mouth. There are so many more details in this story that would help you understand my point, but it would take me many pages to write them all down. I’m not a doctor, I’m not much of anything in fact, but God gave me quite a good IQ and a dad who was a very kind doctor and medical teacher by my side, so I know quite too much about these medical issues to be fooled around. She has a degree in medicine all right, but she didn’t even know the right name of the tumor marker, she called it C-9, instead of CA 19-9 which is its true name. It can be elevated in many different cancers, but mainly it is used for pancreatic cancer. She said it was the marker for colon cancer ONLY, but that the dad’s primary tumor is almost certainly in his stomach… I kept quiet and just said that I don’t think there is anything in his stomach because he could eat large quantities of food at once without complaints prior to admission, he just complained of lower abdominal pain, and she said that I don’t have a clue. He was sent to gastroscopy which came totally negative, he didn’t even have a single ulcer in the stomach, yet she insisted that they take 8 samples for biopsy, scratching his stomach tissue quite badly. Later when I reminded her of this procedure, she said that I shouldn’t even go and pick up those results because they will definitely be negative?! There were times really when I asked myself who was crazy, me or her. I spoke to her on more than 10 occasions and she always behaved quite badly with me, but I didn’t say a thing and was always more than polite. On the last two days she became much worse because she wanted to discharge him, but she couldn’t do it without a signature from a gastroenterologist to confirm that he wasn’t in immediate vital danger and this doctor didn’t show up, that’s why she “exploded”. I was still polite, but on the last morning when my dad was no longer in her hands, I simply had to tell her what I think of her attitude. I’m not a violent person Jim nor I ever was violent, on the contrary, I’m just a tiny, horrified human being eaten up by fear for many years. I just felt I had to defend what was left to be defended of my family. Maybe she thought later about all that she said to me, maybe that would help some future patients of hers to get at least a bit better treatment. Maybe not. I just don’t get why she studied medicine, if she lacks heart my dad was at least a very interesting and unusual medical case, he didn’t fit any of the usual patterns of the disease, there was a lot to learn from our bad luck and gain more experience. She didn’t give a damn. On the night my dad entered hypoglycemia, if it weren’t for a young guy in his room who was there because of some thyroid issues my dad would have died, and we would have had every right to sue the hospital, because he would have died due to the wrong dose of insulin that she prescribed. You think she got scared? Not a bit. She wasn’t even there. It was night and the guy ran all over the corridors to find somebody, anybody, whoever to inject glucose immediately and in the end he succeeded, then he wiped my dad, changed him completely, put everything dirty in a plastic bag for us to wash, sat with my dad till 4 a.m. to make sure he got better. He did it, not the nurses. And he was just a common poor guy with a very sick thyroid, a fellow patient. I don’t even know how many times I said thank you to him. He lost 30 kilos due to his thyroid problems and now had to eat as much as he could to recover, so I bought all the best food and sweets I could find in a store near the hospital, I ran there and back like crazy, because dad survived plus I heard there was nothing in his stomach. I got some false hope and it kept me running. The guy in turn thanked me and thanked me till we both started crying for some reason, I told him to stop thanking me, that it was nothing, that I would bring him whatever he wanted if only that could help my dad and change the faith. That makes the difference, to hell with cockroaches, dirty beds, lack of pillows, bloody cotton pads nurses throw all over floors, one human gesture erases it all. During the first week in the hospital, my dad was still moving around quite well and while we were there to visit him, it happened that the IV needle went out of one patients hand because it wasn’t fastened well. Blood started pouring all over his pants and the floor because the vein burst open, and my dad, terminal cancer patient jumped from his bed, ran out of the room, ran into the nurses room, grabbed a huge piece of cotton, ran back and pressed it hardly onto this man’s hand. It was doctor in him that made him run, he knew where to press and he knew well that the man could bleed to death. She, the fancy doctor, sat in the room next to this one and when I called her to come she refused and told me to search for “some nurse”. There was none. I begged her to come, she refused again. We fetched another piece of cotton and continued pressing till the bleeding stopped. Then I took out all the tissues I had and cleaned the blood around the man the best I could, wiping it off the bed, his slippers and floor with my bare hand. Dad shouted not to do it because I could get infected, but it was stronger than me. We’re such people, my dad and me. I just foolishly thought that he could have had some doctor like himself by his side in his last days, to be in less agony and more at peace. That didn’t happen. I was his doctor and his nurse and his support, with mom helping out as much as she could. I have no idea how I managed.

      I’m so terribly sorry that you witnessed death by cancer as well, such things can never be forgotten. The only thing that comforts me is that dad is not in agony any more and that he didn’t suffer for a long time, he actually lived a full life till mid August. That’s so much easier for him, but so damn hard for us that have to stay here behind him. We humans are probably selfish, but for me it would be good enough if he could still be around, even just sitting if it had to be that way, so that he could still tell me something and so that I could still tell him something. Sometimes I just needed a word or a phrase and I would be guided to search for answers on the internet and learn something new. A joke, a smile, the way he held my hand tightly when I brought him all the medicine he needed. He wasn’t only a doctor, he was the head of all GP practices in our municipality while he worked, practices that comprised 14 health centers. He opened the diabetes counseling department at his own health center, department that was closed when he retired due to the lack of state finances. When I took his meds, there was a doctor there who knew him and who told me to give him best wishes and tell him that he was the best head GP in the world. I said this to him, and that was one and only time in those hellish 20 days that I saw tears in his eyes. I’m glad he heard those words.

      As for me, I’m not sure Jim that I can overcome this. I have PD. I swallowed 4 entire packs of benzos instead of regular two to do all I had to do, and my body is falling apart. I have nightmares and I constantly jump out from sleep in sweat. I dream of myself dying, of other people dying, I see black holes and many bad things in those dreams. I am very much scared of getting cancer myself, because dad and I resemble so much, we’ve always had similar indigestion issues and I suffer from IBS since I was born, not to mention all the damn medication my body filtered in my lifetime. I’m sad, the loss is immense and horrible, I have no appetite and I’m afraid all the time. It is pretty hard to live my life. Facing that cemetery after 7 years was abnormally hard, I did push myself, but I feel the consequences of it very much. Additionally, life has changed in many aspects. Financially, it’s going to get extremely tough. Also my mom is in advanced age as well and if she goes away too, I have no idea whatsoever what I will do. Those are all pure facts, but we all need hope, even if it is a hope for a miracle to happen. And that hope comes for me from your words, I don’t know how to express my gratitude for them. I had relatives at the funeral, we spoke with many people who knew dad in these last 10 days, but none of them had such great, inspiring, strong and positive words for me like you, and you never even met me. That’s quite incredible and very special, as always you know how to hit that right spot somewhere in the mind that makes me feel a bit better and continue this really hard battle.

      I was just thinking today, if I was born to be here on Earth for some time, I wouldn’t like to go away before I do something meaningful, I totally dread losing a pointless life. I can’t offer much to the world around me, but I still have a warm friendly hand, huge desire to listen and I know how to be there for anybody who might need me in any way. So as long as I’m here on this Earth, you have a friend for life, ok? These are the worst moments in my life and you’ve been there in an incredible way, which is something that can never be forgotten.

      There is one interesting thing also – my dad never really knew how to express feelings, especially with words, he never said much about “impractical” things. He didn’t say much in the end, but he said something you mentioned in that other comment – if / when I die, please don’t cry too much, I’d like you to go through all that with DIGNITY. That’s not a word he used much before, but he asked for dignity in grief and in everything we were supposed to do. I asked a neighbor who went with us to the funeral if everything was ok, she said oh yes, with a lot of dignity. You used that word again, talking about how I handled organizing funeral and everything else, you said that as if you really, totally knew me. If you from all that distance think that I did a good job with dignity, then dad must definitely be at least a bit proud of me.

      Thank you Jim, from the bottom of my heart. May only good things happen to you and your family, you have such a kind soul. Hugs, Tanja

      1. Thank you for your kind words Tanja. You are most welcome for the encouraging words I offer you. I think it must surely be good for you to write out these frustrations, so I am glad to see you write them. And I expect it helps a lot to think that someone out there is reading it and cares. I am reading it and I do care. Judy does too. So you are not totally alone.

        I do not know how you are going to cope either. But I would like to note that when I first read your earlier post about your father’s imminent decline, I thought “this is Tanja’s chance to step up and help.” It seems that you did just that. I quote your very words from the above comment; “I was his doctor and his nurse and his support, with mom helping out as much as she could. I have no idea how I managed.” You did help. It sounds like you were the critical help. And somehow you managed, even though you have no idea how. But you did!

        Now, back to those zinnias. Before your father’s decline, you had begun expressing a positive, hopeful message in your blog, seeking out some of the wonders of nature near your home. I challenge you to go right back to that. Put a little distance between you and the horrific experience with the hospital and seek some positive input. Look for it in nature wherever you can find it. Even a weed growing through the crack in a sidewalk is a hopeful, positive miracle of nature if you think about it that way. So go out and seek some input from nature. She will gladly provide it. Post blogs about it. Take a picture of something and share it with Judy, me and the others. We will see it and read it and know you are trying. You will benefit from the exercise of sharing it.

        Will you do that? Please?

        Thanks. I thought you would. 🙂

        My sincere best wishes to you and your mother.
        Jim

      2. Dear Jim, I’m really sorry for this delay in replying, but I’ve been doing really bad lately. Unfortunately, it’s nothing new for me – I’ve been dealing with anxiety issues for much too long and I researched it in many ways in order to cope, so I’m quite familiar with the “beast’s” ways… While still in first shock and sorrow and disbelief, you’re somehow anesthetized by your own body in order to survive, or simply speaking numbed by shock itself, so you function, run around, do even more than you actually can, it still feels that you’re “helping” somehow. Then it all ends and the world slowly tumbles down onto your head full force – tons of memories, things you loved, things you feel guilty of, unfulfilled wishes and expectations, the extent of the loss in the sense what the deceased person truly meant for you and how much he actually did in every sense of that word in your life… We’ve lived together all my life and now even though it sounds totally crazy, I somehow still wait for him to return from somewhere, because whenever he went somewhere, he always came back. Days are bad enough, but nights are worse, nights mean you have to try to sleep and sleeping means regular nightmares. My mind tries to grasp why all this had to happen, why this way, even though I clearly know that I’ll never have an answer. Depression is wrapping around me and I recognize it, lack of reaction, lack of response to colors, images, sounds, lack of interest, lack of care… I diagnose it perfectly, but I have no cure. My world “exploded” into pieces 7 years ago and it was one hell of a journey first to accept it, then to regroup it according to new circumstances and finally find some extremely limited sense in what that life of mine had to become. I learnt to be humble, to be satisfied with the crumbs of life, somehow happy even like this, closed withing the 4 walls of some small apartment in the middle of a lost country that experienced horrible things in the past 2 decades or so. I just only prayed for my little family to be together, for us to be healthy and well. We survived the bombing back in 1999, many people can’t even imagine how it feels when bombs explode in your vicinity, planes that carry death fly over your head, when the air raid alarms scream up to 5 times a day, reminding you that you have to go to the nearest underground shelter. We never went underground, chances that you won’t come out anyhow if the whole building comes down are very high. We didn’t have electricity for days in a row. But still, you know what? It was nothing compared to this. We were together, and that made all the difference. We had each other. Dad could move cement bags one after another if needed, drive a car, heal illnesses, mom could sort things out in terms of knowing people or arranging everything till you get to the best possible solution. I was “safe” in the middle of those bombs because I felt protected. Now it’s as though one half of my life is missing for good. First, there is that lack of physical presence which is very hard, then there are so many things you suddenly realize you would just dismiss with “dad will do that” – drive the car, go fetch this or that, travel distances, produce fruits and vegetables, bring in half of the income… I’m not lazy or spoiled, I would very gladly jump in that place and continue from where he stopped, but PD is not something you can chose or shrug off when it pleases you. It’s a diagnose, usually something you were born with which slowly develops over time till it gets out of control. You very much want in your head, you make tremendous effort and achieve some progress, but such progress is nothing when it comes to what life requires from you to secure you a decent survival. It’s also the matter of trying to preserve some of the things dad really put a lot of effort in, but you end up with stabbing realization that you simply can’t, that it is bigger than you. In some things you could perhaps help out, but somebody has to have the leading role. And there is no such person, that somebody is gone… You suddenly realize how much actually life is tough. You realize that even that horrible PD is nothing when you have even only two good, kind and loving people to give support, watch your back and carry you along as they go forward. I hate my position in life, I would love to be somebody strong and healthy who would help others out and carry them even on my very back if needed, but it wasn’t meant to be. That’s why this is all very much harder than it would be for any other ordinary person. I knew it had to happen some day and I was afraid of this reality almost every day, but I just foolishly hoped that there was still some time. I needed some more time. It wasn’t meant to be.

        Thank you very much for being there and reading and caring, all my good words for you are very true and sincere and they come right from the heart. You know how to listen, you know how to analyze what another person says and be there offering wonderful guidance – all that is extremely precious, and it is so good to know that someone out there truly cares, otherwise things would be totally pointless. Your family and friends are really blessed for having you around.

        I do think you’re right when you say that I should go out and seek to continue what I was doing before, but somehow I simply can’t, at least I still can’t do it. I was happy before, imagine me, with such a stupid and distorted life – happy… but I was somehow. I found beauty is those little flowers, colors, sights that made that wonderful “wow” effect on me… but somehow now nothing seems to capture my attention. I don’t see those autumn leaves I walk over, I don’t see people, I just do what I have to do and even that is too much. I wanted to come and write something, then I would back off – nothing makes sense, plus everything I have to say sounds like a horrible rant and I’m afraid that nobody is fond of hearing that all the time. Even in the worst of my times in that blurry period when I was almost constantly in bed, I tried to “speak out” when I had something positive to say, to encourage, to find examples that even battles against all odds can have happy endings. Now I somehow don’t have the belief in that any more. I am anxious and depressed by nature, but I never really liked to talk much about those lows, or least I would talk but when things got better so that I could say it was hard, but hey you see, I overcame this as well. My soul weighs many tons right now, and if I do come out of this, it’s not going to be easy or fast I’m afraid. To add to the misery, can you imagine what else happened? I mentioned the scanner in that last post, complaining a bit of the scan quality – it’s actually a little multifunctional device – print copy scan all in one. The next day, I put a paper inside, pressed copy, it made a copy… and then it just – died. No switching on any more. It is 6 years old, but it wasn’t used that much at all, those were quite bad 6 years. The last thing it copied was a photo from the funeral, imagine. So crossing that out from the list as well… Then comes the camera. It wasn’t used as you know for quite some time, which is not good for the battery. Anyway even if it were used, we’re still talking about a camera that was bought almost 10 years ago – it’s DSLR all right, but quite “ancient” now – it was too expensive for us, but my parents managed to get me one, installments and everything. DSLR is great for nice captures even with a basic kit lens like mine, but batteries cost very much – in proportion with the value of the device, and there is of course a problem with finding a battery for an old model like this. I was managing though, it would take 10-15 shots and then I would have to recharge the battery, that’s how I made all these new photos. I took it again in my hands, but now it can make one shot at best after recharging 3-4 times… it gave all it could in this life as well. Computer crashed twice since my last words here, the second time it didn’t even recognize it had 2 of its 3 hard discs. Life obviously requires renewal in so many senses, time has eaten up much of my life. Or is it simply a message that I should stop with photos, digital world, computers, writing? Each time I got into it, something crashed… People can never be replaced, things are just things and are replaceable, but not without a price. It was already hard before, now it’s superhard… and you know what, I’m getting so so tired. I can’t keep up the either technology’s or life’s pace in general any more, I lost all my strength in fighting against the windmills, it’s simply too much for somebody like me. So… I hope the computer will live a bit more with all the problems and faults so that I can exchange some words with you and Judy, it surely means a lot to me – I’m just afraid that I’ll “kill” you guys with all the negativity and bad luck my life consists of. And I don’t want that, I’d much rather inspire and offer some more positive better words. I do wish we met here or elsewhere earlier. I just don’t get how and why I always miss the timing, it’s always either too early or much more often, too late for everything in my life. Take care my dear friend… and I’m here if you need me, remember that. I can always give support to others, even in times like this. And thank you very much for reading all this.

        All the best to you and your family,
        Tanja

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