Category Archives: Depression

Fitness Wasn’t Everything


I had someone tell me once, “Fitness isn’t all there is to the world.” And, although, I knew that, I didn’t comprehend what that looked like or how does one practice that kind of lifestyle, until life told me to take a seat with a cast on.  It was during this time I learned fitness wasn’t everything in life.  Fitness no longer always became the focus for which I identified with.  That changed my perspective on everything else, and it also made room for everything else I had to deal with.

I believe fitness has helped me to manage my bipolar for over a decade.  The first time I was diagnosed I didn’t want to believe it.  I think it’s not uncommon to say that before I was diagnosed, life was better.  But, that isn’t necessarily true.  I want it to be.  However, I understand that the notion of my life being better in the past is most likely stemming from not having the diagnosis in the first place since I can’t unknow what I know.  Nevertheless, the moment when fitness became unavailable for me, it was easier to see how difficult it became to stabilize my mood swings and irritability in general.

I used fitness as a crutch for many things like anger, depression and the void.  There were times I genuinely enjoyed gym-hopping because I naturally thought it was healthier than barhopping.  But, those hourly long sessions five or six times a week at the gym were where I chose to avoid certain life reflections.  So, rather than cut myself with a blade or fracture my hand on a solid wall, I would train to injury repeatedly.  I was using a different method to continue to hurt myself.

When I couldn’t train for a period, I had to learn to sit with my passions.  I had to observe my pain and find times for when I could adjust in healthier ways.  I had to find new ways to regulate my recurring moods, triggers and symptoms.  This was one of the most difficult things I had to do, despite allowing myself to feel what I feel when they arise.  It took a long time for me to realize that not every feeling will remain and not every thought was something I had to believe in.  I also didn’t realize in the way I trained my mind and body reflected my pain, avoidance, passion, anger, sadness and loneliness.

I’ve been a queen of silent pain, abuse and trauma.  I’ve been cold and brutal many times, not only to myself, but to others as well.  Once I started to transition from a masculine approach to more of a feminine one, I learned how to become softer and not have a meltdown.  With changing my mindset, from being open to change and flow while being less critical, clarity came along with ease and it reflected in my training styles as a form of better awareness, in and out my fitness, and life itself.

-Pennington

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The Vanishing


I haven’t been in the best state of mind.  Lately, I’ve been trying to adopt different approaches such as talking gentler to myself.  My therapist says, “Try coddling yourself as you would do a young child that you actually like.”

I’m up with the moon throughout the month and down in the soil all the other times.  Occasionally, I wake up passive and on other days I wake up aggressive as fuck.  I’ve come to terms with my mood disorder.  It’s behavioral, it’s learned, it runs in the family.  A few years ago, I’ve become aware of many effects and suspected my actions may or may not have been completely me.  Things have gotten to the point where even the most basic functions of existence do not seem basic anymore.

I lost who I was.  I think this is the way it goes, right?  Aging.  I’m not sure who I am anymore, aside from a maturing woman who’s both lovely and extreme.  I must admit loudly how I’ve been working on how to manage my mood swings for years and for a good part of my life, exercise and writing have kept a slight handle on the swings, but every day the things that used to work then haven’t been working now.  I’m puzzled.

So, I’m older and in some ways, I absolutely adore it and in other ways, I don’t think I enjoy it because the short-term memory keeps failing me.  It dissolves.  I think because there’s something in the water, something in the air, you know, there are things in our food we can’t pronounce, and that shit doesn’t allow our minds, bodies or spirit to function at an elevated level.  It’s like people hit a certain age and they flatline.  I feel there’s so much working against me in general, and this goes back to how I’m not in the best state of mind.

Over the years my discipline and motivation have taken a dive, so much so, it frightens me.  There are plenty of details in between, some you guys know and others I won’t bother getting into at this time.  Still, I’ve been trying to find my new normal concerning everyday life.  I’m going back to the basics on everything and am currently on a search to reestablish some things I used to love about myself, that now feels like the vanishing of a short-term memory.

I feel like there’s a sport psychology book calling my name out there somewhere.

-Pennington

I Heart Pearl Jam


pearl jam
I’m a grunge lady, a 90’s baby.

I love anything with rock even though in the hood of where I grew up I wasn’t supposed to.  I wasn’t cool if hip-hop wasn’t the focus.  Of course, 90’s hip-hop was the best for me, too.  But, when I left my friends and their prejudices, I’d go home, crash in my room, yell-sing at the top of my lungs with all my heart and delve into the pits of my anger and depression along with Nirvana, Guns n’ Roses, Smashing Pumpkins and Pearl Jam.

During this time, I remember enjoying Nirvana more than Pearl Jam.  I think it was partly what the media spun though:  Were you more of a Pearl Jam or Nirvana fan?  I think since I was twelve or so, Nirvana took the cake for me, especially after his death.  It rocked me to the core.  I believed I wanted to commit suicide too, just like Kurt, and I tried.

Well, fast-forward to 2001, I was living with a boyfriend at the time and he was a heavy Pearl Jam fan.  He bought their new album that came out and told me to give it a listen or three.  And it brought back memories of how I’d listen to rock music during my deepest darkest depression and write my heart out.  Once again, I was at my most miserable.

And Pearl Jam’s album entitled Riot Act became one of my many blessings in life.  Instantly, I became a Pearl Jam fan again, but this time I knew I was a fan for life because their lyrics, jam and flavor hit me in my core unlike any other band.  This album got me out of a miserable time, and it also made me go back six albums to relearn who Pearl Jam was/is, then/now.

What I love about them is they don’t change their style to fit mainstream.  They’re a 90’s band and they have done a hell of a job keeping up with sounding like a 90’s band.  There’s a lot that goes into Pearl Jam I won’t even bother to get into, but I will a little like when they went up against Ticketmaster or how they sang songs about how fucked up the Bush Administration was even though they got booed and shit thrown at them as they performed in their own concerts.

But, more than anything it’s the evolvement of the band, their songs, lyrics, personal essence, how they individually matured and yet remain collective on every album.  And, so, in turn I have grown with them and I revisit their lyrics because as I age, my perspective grows differently with each passing year.  I go back to what they’ve written, and I get it now or I get it better.  Here’s some I want to share by Pearl Jam.  I wish I can share them all, but that would be endless.

I picked out some lyrics that are dear to me because I either went through it or it resonated with me.  If you have some of your own Pearl Jam lyrics you love or song, please share them with me.  I would love to know!  Of course, I have their concert playing as I type this and sing now:  Pearl Jam Live at the Garden.  Cheers.

Pearl_Jam-Live_At_The_Garden_Bonus-Frontal

Song TitleIn My Tree:  I remember when, yeah, I was young, I swore I knew everything, let’s say knowledge is a tree, yeah, it’s growing up just like me, yeah.

Song TitleWhy Go:  She scratches a letter into a wall made of stone.  Maybe someday another child won’t feel as alone as she does.  It’s been two years and counting since they put her in this place.  She’s been diagnosed by some stupid fuck and mommy agrees.

Song TitleWishlist:  I wish I was a sacrifice but somehow still lived on.

Song TitleBetter Man:  She lies and says she’s in love with him.  Can’t find a better man.  She dreams in color.  She dreams in red.  Can’t find a better man.

Song TitleI Got Id:  My lips are shaking; my nails are bit off.  Been a month since I’ve heard myself talk.  All the advantage this life’s got on me. Picture a cup in the middle of sea.

Song TitleLove Boat Captain:  And if our lives became too long, will it add to our regret?

Song TitleLife Wasted:  Darkness comes in waves. Tell me, why invite it to stay?

Song TitleUnthought Known:  Dream the dreams of other men, you’ll be no one’s rival.  Dream the dreams of others then, you will be no one’s rival.

Song TitleI Am Mine:  The sorrow grows bigger when the sorrows denied.

Song TitleLight Years:  I’ve used hammers made out of wood.  I have played games with pieces and rules.  I undeciphered tricks at the bar. But now you’re gone, and I haven’t figured out why.

Song TitleAll or None:  Can we help that our destinations are the ones we’ve been before?

Song TitleFaithful:  We’re faithful, we all believe, we all believe it.  So faithful, we all believe, we all believe it.

Thanks for reading. 🙂

-Pennington

On Writing


Before the love of writing started I began with reading lots and lots of books – all kinds really.  Then for a few years came book reports.  I enjoyed breaking down a story as well as making drawings for the report cover, particularly as a way to stand out from the rest of the classmates.  After book reports I started to write around the age of 9.

I wrote short stories back then, mostly horror because my family was big on watching horror films and I needed an outlet for my reoccurring nightmares.  So I wrote and wrote and each time I felt my heart become more and more alive.  I remember I enjoyed writing not just because I felt full of life, but because all my teachers said I was good at it.  And whenever someone gave me constructive criticism I was determined to get better.  Eventually I won a writing medal at elementary school because of that attitude.

In Junior High I would go on to write graded screenplays for the entire class to act out on.  By seventh grade I turned my attention to deeper writing like journaling and confessional poetry and during this time short stories were put on hold (and for the most part still is) as my writing began to take on a form of therapy.  With being a loner and feeling like an outcast from family and school, I learned to create friendships with my writing.  Then in later years, I learned about blogging.

So, even though I wouldn’t change a thing, it wasn’t until very recent that I realized I tend to write predominantly when I’m feeling glum (manic), bitter, displeased, enraged or dispirited.  Then of course there are the feelings of when I’m hyped, full of mania (highs) and excitability with huge shots of adrenaline when I train before, during or after.  Once in a blue I write when I’m happy, obsessive or in love too, but my heart lies with writing sorrow first.  So what’s the dilemma?

One dilemma is I believe I’ve limited myself to writing with and/or about certain emotions, so when I’m actually happy I find it difficult to write or get inspired to write.

During the time I was on a mood-stabilizing pill I stopped writing for 3 months completely (which is absurd), not just because it changed my persona to a degree, but because I had less bipolar episodes, less sadness, less excitability, less highs and lows.  I was somewhere in the middle, but not quite.  I wasn’t necessarily happy, but wasn’t necessarily sad.  Maybe neutral? But it made it difficult to find any drive to write.  Now, I’m trying to come up with solutions and creative ways to write about anything and everything to push myself over the boundaries I’ve created.

The second dilemma aside from finding inspiration through negative tone emotions is I started working on a book (a novel).  But, the problem for me is I stopped writing short stories decades ago, so I doubt my abilities since I’ve been out of practice.  Writing in narrative, I find to be more difficult than say, writing a poem, prose or a blog.  This is another challenge I’ve been trying to work on AND I’m open to suggestions from anyone who is kind enough to share.

Thanks for reading.

-Pennington

Under Constant Consideration 2


Under Constant Consideration Part 1

Dr. Endocrinologist referred me to a nurse educator who I believe holds dykeish (is this a word and did I spell this correctly?) qualities because she made jokes (that I didn’t think were that funny) yet blushed with tears flooding her eyes like she was on a date with me that lasted two hours according to her notes.  She even googled her address in front of me.  Then showed me the trail and mileage of when her and her daughter walked from home to school on their journey to lose additional weight. Odd, no?

Anyhow, she explained in more detail about diabetes, showed me videos and we went through the correct ways to use a One Touch Verio.  Lastly, she informs me that I can get rid of the diabetes since it’s in the early stage.  Then goes on to assume I eat white rice and beans because I’m Hispanic.  I said, “No I’m Italian, and that’s where diabetes came from; you know the pasta.”  She chuckled.  I think we left off great after that date because she said if you ever want more education, just make another appointment to come see me.

*

Then there’s this psychiatrist who’s in the wrong field for the discussion subject of choice were forever about weight loss, even though at our last session she says,”Stand up.  Oh, you have lost weight” as she orders me to step on a hippopotamus scale.  She thought it her duty to give unsolicited nutritional advice in her horrible fucking Dolph Lundgren accent:  No peas.  No carrots.  Zero carbs.  Don’t eat carbs at all.  This includes sweet potatoes!   Maybe one day when you lose all the weight you can eat carbs again.  Don’t weightlift anymore.  Weightlifting makes you bulky.  You’ll never lose weight that way.  Only cardio!  Jump.  Walk.  You know what I’m saying.

Every session felt like I watched a bad sitcom with my presence in the hot seat as this insensitive cunt tried to tell me who I was based on 3 fifteen minute conversations we engaged in.  Then she tried to question my purpose in life, inquire if I ever soul search and spoke about people who sleep past midnight aren’t normal.  She took the cake by getting angrier than I was because doctors diagnosed me diabetic and it didn’t matter if it was the beginning stages.

There were many things that amused me about her terrible character, but what got me is the fact that she works in a mental health industry yet treats (many) patients (according to many who work in the building with her) like shit and never bothers to read anyone’s chart because she believes she’s too good to do so.  The thing with putting people in boxes is it isn’t accurate even though on the surface it seems the people you deal with are all the time, which I expressed to her.  Then I never saw the cunt again.

Thank god I’m not some shrimpy insecure person.  Thank god I don’t allow other people’s opinions to affect me or my life decisions.  Thank god I’m not a newcomer and have been weightlifting for over 13 years and swear by it.  So, I’m a professional yo-yo dieter, but I’ve also had my share of steady weight loss, conditioned fitness and extra curves that come with it.  I’ve always been proud, but I believe some people want to come in your life and not necessarily lecture or cast dirty spells on you, but they want to destroy whatever good you hold for their own reasons.  I swear that’s what it is.

*

An angelic bird, close partner and an acquaintance each whispered to see a podiatrist.  Once again I had to verbally fight for a referral to see a podiatrist and prayed for the doctor to be a woman for I could use thoroughness and words of light from maternal grace.  Well, I got a woman and one of the first things she mentioned was, “If you didn’t have diabetes, your insurance wouldn’t cover the orthopedic shoe cost.”  (Life, working in mysterious ways again.)  Goes on further to say:  With the shoes, both your ankles should feel stable; you’ll be even and wobble less since you’ll have built in arches.  You’ll experience less pain as you walk.  It’ll be good for you.

What this all boils down to is I’m still under construction.  This is probably why I haven’t written much on any of these blogs lately because I’m not in the best mindset and part of me doesn’t want to display the pessimism in every single one of my entries.

It’s disappointing, this long journey I’ve been riding on, how I continuously see this trend of people (doctors, therapists, psychiatrists, endocrinologists, etc) who are in these fields to assist and inspire people to live better healthier lives physically, emotionally, mentally, etc, but fail to do so.  How is it and when does it begin for some people that a job just becomes a job and not what it was intended for?  I guess I believe in practicality and being above and beyond with sensibilities like empathetic (empath) abilities along with a higher vision for existence depending on the occupation.

Still, I don’t want to take nothing away from the two people who did give me hope of course – the dyke nurse educator and podiatrist.  The first gave me positive pep talk, smiles, and probably touched me a few times too many since she thought we were on a date, but she came off focused, direct with the right balance of sincerity, care and concern throughout.  Or maybe she was just being extra nice to me because she enjoyed my presence?  Who really knows?  It doesn’t matter because she was one of the nice ones who did her job and assisted in the best way she knew how.

As for the podiatrist, she mentioned that the good thing about my foot/ankle dilemma is it’ll get better over time, not worse.  The little that she did say carried weight.  I needed to once again get the surge back, the kind where I can remain on the optimistic wave, so I can keep fighting and more importantly never give up.

-Pennington

hiding


art-crespella
I’ve been trying to get out.
I’ve been trying to unearth the right time.
I’ve been talking to dead fish by the river.
I’ve been talking to the celestial body, reigning orb of night.
I’ve been trading places with shadows.
I’ve been in hiding.

I’ve been throwing things out.
I’ve been investigating my patience.
I’ve been talking to ducks by the Brooklyn bridge.
I’ve been talking to the brightest star, singeing god of land.
I’ve been trading in shades of light.
I’ve been in hiding.

-Pennington

Mother


destroying_mother_nature_by_williamorihama-d7ag83t

The fable of the world doesn’t exist.
Ask the hologram of his kiss.
The dreams we dreamt evaporated.
Ask the schemes of the advocated.
The blindfold is fool’s gold.
Ask time; it never grows old.

And although nothing can stay
I wish you were here today.

The moment arrives and befalls.
Like the highs and lows of cholesterol.
The things I wish for are transient.
Like the ambiance of accidents.
The faith in my chest is insoluble.
Like consolation in the uncontrollable.

And although nothing can stay
I wish you were here today.

The memories spin on its own axis.
And feelings give way to its blackness.
The wind whispers your sweet name.
And I’m allowed to say hi without blame.
The seasons change vast and fluid.
And warm and cold weather are reputed.

And although nothing can stay
I wish you were here today.

-Pennington

Bedevil


art jenny liz.jpg

It’s your birthday month.  Will someone bring on the Bacardi rum?  I no longer feel the sun since you’ve been gone.

 

I want you to trouble me, puzzle, muscle and rebuttal me.  I want you to disturb me, discern, immerse and return to me.  I want you to haunt me, taunt, flaunt and want me.

 

I think I found love with you.  I spoke to mourning doves about you.  I swear I found a home with you.  I even ask the honeycomb on my altar about you.

 

I think I found wholesomeness with you.  I’ve been at homelessness without you.  I swore I kissed the skies when I was with you.  I even ask my thighs why they cry now that I’m without you.

 

You put a love inside me I can’t get rid of and at times, you were my antidepressant drug, the one I sometimes dream of handcuffed, strangely enough.

 

I’ve been cold since we both disappeared.  I haven’t found my heart in two years.  Won’t you appear with your childlike light in my sullen atmosphere?

 

I had a boyfriend who cared about me but he came with his own limits, his own gimmicks and every minute he’s attempting to disguise low spirits with a million cigarettes.

 

He’s nothing like you and you’re nothing him and that’s just one problem.  You barely came with conditions or superstitious wishes, but you were the warmth and blood to my heart even when it rocked bottom.

 

And I look to the sky and I ask why.  I look far and I look wide and the answers were because I cried honesty rather than decide to spend the night with pride.  You made me work for forgiveness like I was some damn spy.

 

What if I asked you to send for me?  What if I asked for your body?  What if I admitted to my monstrosity?  What if every fear we own were given to prophecy?  Would it change the divinity of possibility?

 

I can’t forget the first glance that cemented our song and dance.  I can’t clean the scent of your home from my hands.  I can’t eradicate the taste of you from my throat glands.

 

What if I still loved you beyond this distance and chip on my shoulder?  How am I to know when my heart froze that last time in October when my entire life as I knew was over?

 

And if I show up at your door, will you come?

 

Trouble me.

Disturb me.

Haunt me.

 

-Pennington

Under Constant Consideration


lit

I sit and prick my finger with the thinnest needle I’ve ever seen.  It feels as thin as a loose-leaf page between my fingers.  This needle reminds me of the first time I tried to grasp what was taking place on the table after I let the alcohol dry and stomach lbs of anxiety to push a simple white surrender button that has no problem piercing me at its own inorganic intention.  That bee-stinger reminds me of my family’s hang ups every time I glance over the medical history list and check off every sick inheritance.  It’s one more thing to put on the death record.  The son of a bitch needle reminds me of where my life has been and where it’s going.

I think about who I’m becoming?  I think about the coincidences that tie into another coincidence like a necklace and how I never believe much in coincidences or in necklaces that are meant to break with the purpose and strange intent to try and shake up my faith.  I believe in life’s orchestration and in every gift given by higher sources.  I think about my faith, motivation and temperament.  How much fight I have in me?  How to keep positive mantras by the altar of my heart and how to deal them out as needed, as well as how to go about feeding my spiritual backyard with water when it’s looking dry as a bone due to inner turmoil.

The small round dot of red reminds me of a ladybug.  I believe the ladybug is searching for answers life can’t always give while I’m still breathing, punching and kicking alive.  The ladybug is on a quest for numbers in low ranges and metabolic disorders to be of order.  I’m checking my blood sugar, but I call her ladybug because it verbally and visually sounds prettier than the faults I hold as a human.  The New Year brought me diabetes and I’m not sure how to feel about this progressive disease that had a lot to do with taking my mother’s life.

What does the bigger picture hold?

*

The surgeon says, “Are you aware diabetes further affects the ligaments.tendons in your foot and how your foot heals from surgery?”  I don’t take advice from anyone who butchers human bodies for a living because even though what they do for a living can be helpful, there’s something inhumane about cutting into human bodies.  Let alone, the discord for why surgeons lack brainpower, logic sense, human emotion and emotional intelligence.  I can’t tell you the countless times I’ve been in his cold office and every single time I’ve felt like I was touched and centered by a black-hole; the entire light of my thirty-something being vanish in a space where I was beginning to be invisible to myself.

Then there’s my primary doctor who’s younger than I and mentally more fucked than I am says it’s in the controlled phase, don’t worry so much she blurts carelessly.  Is she telling the 29 million Americans with diabetes not to worry too?  Yet in the same session casually mentions how her supervisor said you would be a good candidate for bypass surgery as if I resemble a hippopotamus of sort.  Anyone who hacks into human bodies for a living with a scalpel is god-awful fucking people.  No thank you I know how to lose weight on my own even though these gargoyles of depression won’t get off my shoulders and every painful step and every stretch of my Achilles heel is a partial reminder where the mess of my life went awry.

So I asked for a referral to see the endocrinologist, which took me a year plus to get because I didn’t become a candidate until the diabetes clock decided to tick its way in because a 40lb weight gain in a 2 year span doesn’t constitute as a person having a real problem other than depression or hatred in America.  So, do I consider the diabetes to be a blessing in disguise? Well, I certainly believe it came on time!

Now Dr. Endocrinologist doesn’t dish any hope at all, but he talked openly about his country, how poor he was as a kid and how he’d go hungry and learned the power of discipline through starvation unlike the Americans who have every convenience and option rolled out for them like a red carpet.  He went on to say I know I’ll get diabetes eventually because it’s hereditary, but I do my best to prevent it by not eating all the wonderful fatty and carby things I would love to eat now.  Then he wrapped up with a spiel of willpower and the difficulty most people have when it comes to willpower.  And I kept looking at him, like do you know who the fuck I am?  Then I realized no this is your first meeting and he talks like his because he doesn’t know me from a hole in the wall, so I don’t hold his appalling lecture personally.

He goes on to say 50% of your pancreas is shot and will never work the way it once did.  Then right away I felt like a dying tulip on the side of neglected roadkill sitting on the thought of my pancreas dying a whole ten years prior according to him.  The only thing I did agree with is the way his eyes lit up with sinful fire as he said, “What is wrong with your primary doctor?  It’s crazy for her to mention bypass surgery for 3 reasons: 1. That’s not a solution.  2.  Most people lose 50% of their weight the first year, but gain it ALL back because most people aren’t disciplined. 3.  You don’t even know the basics of endocrinology.

To be continued..

-Pennington

Reminiscing Mother


Me and Mom

1963-2014

My new therapist wants me to open the mystery door about my mother’s death because apparently I’m not depressed enough for her.  Ha!  It’s been a little over a year and a half and I still haven’t come to terms with how I feel about my mother’s death except I’m happy she’s no longer suffering in this cruel world.

Sometimes I go to the river by the busy highway and speak to her directly or through the universe.  I light candles for her in her honor every few months.  My partner and I get her blue flowers also as tribute.  At times, I believe, one reason why I cemented my journey and involvement with ballet-inspired workouts is because I remembered in her childhood she wanted to be a Ballerina, so I honor her by learning and performing ballet.  Last, but not least, I hung her last painting high up on the wall of a bridge over water over a plush purple night that looks a lot like the bridge I eerily live close to nowadays.

And I’m not sure if because death came and went, or because of my denial, but it’s pretty weird how the older I get and the more I stare in the mirror, the more I realize how much I look like my mother’s daughter.  I guess everyone saw it before me.  Maybe I wasn’t looking hard enough before.  Who knows?

The truth is I haven’t been able to sit down and stare longer than five seconds on any of my mother’s photos.  I’ve seen a lot of her different dimensions at different times and the longer I stare at a photo, the more all those dimensions pop out and the more I may have to relive memories that leave me open and scarred.

The longer I stare, the quicker my eyes start to flood and the quicker I start to counter and strain to contain the waterworks.  I’m not a sappy person.  I don’t forget my cruel childhood, but death has a weird way of sitting you down and making you think about your mortality and everybody else’s even if you don’t want to sit down and think about it.  And even though I can be heavily into death itself and metaphysics and pits of darkness, it seems at the age of thirty-four death seems realer than ever.

*

Death has also made me think more about how ending memories are probably the most important ones.  This intrigued me because I’m all about beginnings, so for closing memories to leave a devastating mark haunts me.  What’s worse is I didn’t even get to say goodbye while she was conscious.  By the time I went to travel to the hospital to see her I was in a wheelchair with a very painful throbbing ankle in a heavy cast.  It was hell for my foot to not be elevated, but I believe I was numb inside from my mother’s death.  So much was taken from me in a matter of weeks from mobility and now her.

It was awful having the knowledge of how the doctors had to sedate her until she was finally gone because the pain in her intestines would be too much for her to handle.  And that’s what hurts the most.  I think about how hard her life has always been.  I think about all the times I didn’t want to be happy in my own life because I felt guilty because she was always out there suffering with an incurable disease.  My last memory of her alive was observing her writhing in massive pain.  I knew in the way she talked, it was psychologically different from anything I’ve ever heard her say.  In her words, in the way she spoke she was already gone.

It was hard to stomach mentally and it was harder to stomach visually how she could no longer go to the bathroom on her own and how the nurses were the ones bathing her in the room on her bed.  But on the last day I saw her I caressed her hair.  I remembered kissing her on her warm forehead telling her I’ll visit again very soon, but soon after I broke my ankle and I was already far far away from reaching her.

My mother was dying since I was nine years old.  I became desensitized to every near death and actual near death experience she’s ever has, so when this became the day, it was as if life played a hardcore prank on me.  It just seemed like every time she survived another one and another one and another one, but not this time.

Who knew that was going to be the last time I saw her talking or breathing?  Who knew that would’ve been the last kiss I gave her on her warm forehead?  I think some people have fantasies about how they want people to go before they die.  I always thought I’d see her one last time with my brother in the hospital room and we would both take turns saying, “We forgive you for everything.  We know you did the best you could.  We’ll always love you.”

But nothing ever turns out the way you expect in life and that’s just how it is.  So now I think about the other ending memories, the ones way before she went back into the hospital for a gazillion time.  I think about how even though I didn’t have the best relationship with her throughout my life, she did branch into a second mother towards the ending of her life.  She was a newer mother, better mature.  During that process, I believe a big part of her learned to really appreciate me because I was there to the end unlike my brother who stopped showing up to the hospital and didn’t even come to see her at her own funeral.

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I’m left with the ending memories like how I did visit her more often in the hospice.  How I left the house with $50 bucks one day and took her to a street fair where I bought her food, had her play games until she won a stuffed animal and I went back home with a $1 in my pocket.  At the time, for a moment I was upset, but I quickly thought about how she wasn’t going to be around forever – so this is something I’m supposed to do and it was something that came out of my heart anyway.  Plus I wanted her to have a good time and not worry about death coming closer and closer.

I think about the ending memories and how I would take her out on pass for a few hours to enjoy new foods, to get her soda and cigarettes, to enjoy the sun and we would sit in the park and watch the hot guys play soccer.  I think about how for a very long time before I even thought about taking her out and seeing her often, for a time I stopped seeing her altogether.  I stopped seeing her for so long with the intention to make her suffer like she did me and when I came in the hospice room she hugged me tightly and cried so much.  I was still pretty numb at the time.  I’ve always been.

I never thought she felt like that about me – love.  Or how my friend (who now is my current partner) passed me a cigarette behind her back while we walked to the pizza shop out on pass and she scolded him lovingly, “Are you getting my daughter into smoking now?”  And that was the first time in a long time where I thought, “Hey, she must care about me.”

-Pennington