Radio Silence, Interrupted

Monday, December 3, 2018


I haven't been around here much. Life hasn't been that generous and kind that it can be at times. 

I actually don't know how to put this into words and act as if I'm explaining how life got in the way of me scribbling away on my blog. Because it was stupid and painful and hard, and it still is. Because two months ago, my mom passed away.

What a weird thing to write. I almost believed that deaths happen to other people. Not my mom.

I mentioned her here so many times. And it would be so ordinary and normal, and she always had intelligent comments and remarks and she teased me sometimes in a way that only a mother can, knowing what bothers me and what hurts the most and sometimes it wouldn't be enough for her to refrain from making a comment.

She knew everything, and at times it annoyed me so much. Almost everything. She knew exactly how one should behave in this situation and in that one and sometimes it would be difficult for me to choose the appropriate reaction to what someone has said or done without consulting her. At some point, it even started to weigh too much on my shoulders. I needed to go about and live my own life. My mother wouldn't be here forever, after all, and I needed to develop my own personality that also knows how to react to what someone has said or done.

But when you think they won't be here forever, you never think in terms of this year or even any time soon.

I even wrote here once that I wanted to learn how to cook before I turn 30. My mom was a great cook and I wrote that I needed to take advantage of her skills. What I didn't write, because it sounded dark and ominous, but I did think it, was—while she's still here

But never would have I imagined that I would lose her less than 10 days after turning 30. While she's still here referred more to while I'm still here. Back then I didn't know where I would settle, just like I don't know it now. Maybe it would be somewhere far away, so I needed to learn to cook while we're still here together.

I didn't learn to cook. I'm learning now. 

I'm currently staying with my father, who is used to a home-cooked lunch every day. It's been like this for the past 30 years. Needless to say, someone who's a mere beginner cannot even begin to compete with her. And you know what's worst about my kitchen adventures? I can't ask her anything. I know that she would know why this meat isn't quite like when she makes it or what needs to be added to a stew and how much of it. There are things in our freezer I cannot even name. She would know exactly what they are and what to do with them and how to make them not only edible but delicious.

She could make amazing cottage cheese. I have always planned to learn to do that too.

But I also planned for her to stick around for decades to come.

I found countless notes around the house that were obviously recipes. They would just state several ingredients, nothing else. No instructions. No title. For me, they're basically meaningless. For her, they made complete sense. And isn't that crazy? Just like that... a whole person... is just gone.

I'm not religious. Before my mom died, I had never really believed the whole afterlife idea. Now, however, I understand, better than ever before, why people needed it. I too want it to be true. It just doesn't make any sense that she's gone. That complicated, smart and loving person, gone. No, it doesn't. 

Our relationship has always been complicated. Maybe because we're both strong and stubborn personalities, I don't know—or just because mothers and daughters have complicated relationships in this world. But she was supposed to be here and make my life complicated for so much longer. That's how it was supposed to be. 

I miss her so much, and sometimes I still have difficulties grasping what has happened. Especially in the beginning. It felt as if she just went away for a while, but would be back. In a way, I've developed a defense mechanism that tells me she'd be back, and life will go on normally. I know that she died and that's a forever fact; but it's just so hard to understand. I feel that I haven't devoted time nor thought to deal with her death and now it kind of happens, but it also doesn't. 

I'm probably not making much sense.

I made french fries yesterday for the first time ever. They were really good for a first timer. And I felt a pang of pain for not being able to tell her that.

Life goes on, I guess. It just hurts.

It doesn't hurt her anymore, though. Death of a cancer patient, no matter how saddening and painful, is a sort of relief, because you know they are not in so much pain anymore. Seeing someone you love suffer and being unable to help them is a form of hell. Especially here, in Serbia. When the doctors decide that they cannot help someone anymore, they send them home, because that bed needs to be taken by someone they can help. There's no palliative care. It's in the hands of a family, who most of the time has no idea what to do.

Just writing this brings back images that I have obviously suppressed. My strong mother who I never questioned would be healthy again; frail and weak and knowing her end is near. 

During the last few days, I really wanted to let her know I loved her. But she was sleeping most of the time, and in the rare occasions when she was awake, it felt awkward to just burst "I love you" while we fed her. So it never happened.

I can only hope that she knew it, because as a mom, she knew everything.

Instead of a profound conclusion, here are my two pieces of advice. One, call your mom if you can, because there's a lot of people out there who wish they could but they can't. Nurture your relationship with her, even if she drives you crazy sometimes, because there will come a day when she will stop and you will really, really want her to come back and tell you that you've gained weight (even if you totally haven't).

Two, check your breasts. They say that if the cancer's found early, survival rates are as high as 95%. My mom's was found early, but she was unfortunate enough to end up as the worse part of this statistics. Still, your best chances are to be aware of the dangers and perform a check regularly.

Talk to you soon. 




  1. This is a wonderful piece to read. You can feel the love and admiration you had for your wonderful mother. She would be immensely proud of you. Thank you so much for sharing it with all of us.

    I hope that in time your sadness and grief will go away and be replaced by gratitude. I can already see that happening in your beautifully written article. But these big life-changing events often taken a lot of time. Thanks again for sharing it.

  2. Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to leave this kind comment, Jeff. She truly was special - I'm glad one can get a glimpse of it in this piece.

  3. I was very sadden to learn of your mother's passing yesterday. I met her through some games that we played together on Facebook. She was very kind to me. She was very intelligent, opinionated, stubborn, out-spoken and compassionate. You write about her being a great cook but i already knew that... we talked about making ajvar, jam, stuffed cabbage and plum dumplings. Nada introduced all of us to your blog as well. She proudly spoke of your travels and studies in Finland. My condolences to you and your family. I can ony imagine how difficult her loss has been and I have been blessed to have had her touch my life as well.

  4. I just realized I haven't seen this when it was first posted, and that you also reached out to my dad. Thank you, both for your messages and the kind words about my mom. I am touched, and also entertained at the thought someone else also considered her stubborn. She indeed was. :) I am glad you got the opportunity to get to know her. She also spoke to me of her Mafia Wars friends often, back when she used to play. Thank you so much - your comment meant a lot to me.


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