Soak it all in

In my almost twenty-four years of life, I have experienced some of the highest highs and lowest lows, from the overjoy of happiness to the darkest sorrows and pain a human can feel. I was lucky enough to have a childhood of my dreams filled with everything a girl can wish for, and lots of accomplishments and success along the way, but unfortunately life took me down some of the darkest paths the last few months when I lost the most important person in the world to me, my mom.

She was my everything, my role model, my best friend, my biggest supporter, the strongest, most intelligent woman and the most caring person you can only dream of. But I’m not here to talk about her, at least not just yet, maybe one day, down the road when the pain is bearable to the point that I can dig in and open up, at least enough to control the tears from blocking my vision as I write. In the meantime, I’m here to share the crazy whirlwind of emotions life has taken me through until this very moment.

I have lived life at a very fast pace. So many emotions, events, and things happening at the same time, but it took me until now, as I’m battling this numb and empty feeling inside of me on a daily basis, to be able to stop and reflect on the past. I would say past life, and even though on the outside I have stayed the same, it really feels like I’m a different person on the inside, my whole world completely changed in one moment.

Even though my current state doesn’t express it, we have to start with the topic of love. It’s cheesy, I know, but that’s what our worlds are about. Can you imagine living life without love and care for at least that one person that makes you feel so safe and secure, the one you always rely on, the one that can light up your world in an instant when you feel like everything is falling apart…?

Love. Love is the center of it all. Whether it is a love from a parent, family, soulmate, partner, friend, colleague… even love for a job, a career, or even the idea of love for something or someone. It all comes down to that care and relationship love helps us build. It is what gets us going in the morning, makes us smile throughout the day, and helps us build the moments we live for. See, that’s the kind of love I was taught growing up, the unconditional, unbreakable, strong kind of love for the people you care about. Whether or not you are blood related, those people are and always will be family, and there is nothing in this world like the family bond. These people, or this person, will always help you find your way back, help lift you up in your darkest moments, and be there to celebrate the good times with you. None of this comes easy, but I have been so blessed to have such people in my life that I can experience this feeling with. Yet, nobody and nothing is perfect, everything in life contradicts itself. With love comes pain. 

Pain. Pain comes in all shapes and forms. Some people think physical pain sucks, but nothing compares to the pain our heart can feel. It can be the sadness we feel when we have our heart broken, or when the people we love let us down, or the misery of feeling like nothing in our life is going right, that everything is falling apart. Yet the pain I have experienced the last few months is so strong I didn’t know it was possible to feel that kind of grief and sorrow. The pain that burns from the deepest parts of your chest, the one that doesn’t let you get out of bed for days, the kind that doesn’t ever sleep and makes you overthink and go crazy, the pain that makes life not worth living. That depression, that causes the emptiness inside you unlike any other, where you feel like there is and forever will be a hole in your heart, the one that makes you lose all hope and purpose in life, it is powerful unlike anything else. The grief is unbearable, especially when it brings that loneliness along, the one where you can be standing in a crowded room filled with people, even the ones close to you, yet feel more alone than ever before. The one that makes you think you will never get out of that state, the kind that makes you question everything in life. Where to go from here… and this is where true value in life creeps in. 

Friendships. I’m sure you have heard this many times… but people with true friends are the richest people alive. To have a real, good friend is priceless. Maybe your case was different, but I went through a very rough patch until I found mine. Got stabbed in the back many times by people who I thought were my friends, kept the wall up because I got tired of being hurt, shed lots of tears and thought I gave up on true friendships until… Over time, after many hurtful experiences, I’ve been blessed to find some of the greatest friends a girl could ask for. They are the ones keeping me afloat during these times, the ones lifting me up and encouraging me to keep going every day. No one can fill the void of my mom, but having their love and support sure does put a smile on my face and reminds of the good things life still has to offer. So don’t ever give up on true friendships no matter how long it takes you to find it, and value people who are there for you when life knocks you down. They are the ones that will always be there during the hardest times, support you along the way and celebrate you and your success.

Success. We all strive for success one way or another. With success comes attention, and who doesn’t love attention, especially us girls. Most people focus on achieving success because it will bring them happiness, they say. Yet when I look back at everything I have accomplished until now, none of that was the real source of my joy. Becoming the two time All American didn’t bring me that happiness, maybe it did in that moment of finding out, but what truly did make me happy was knowing I accomplished it with people I love by my side. That they were there watching and supporting me every step of the way, and that without them, none of it would be possible. The photoshoots, magazines, interviews I have done, it wasn’t about the event or focusing on the camera itself, but the people I got to talk to while doing it, sharing experiences and learning new things, making new friendships. When I gave my graduation speeches, as much as I was and am thankful for my rewards, that is not the moment I remember the most, instead it is the part when I called out my parents in a crowd of thousands of people to thank them and tell them I love them. After all these… two time All American, most improved senior in the nation, leadership awards, prom queen, spirit awards, many speeches, interviews, and photoshoots later… I’m still just a girl who needs her mom. Don’t forget that any success you achieve is not as important if you don’t have the right people to share it with. Yet, in order to achieve any kind of success, there is a lot of stress and pressure along the way.

Stress. Stress can be so underrated, at least for someone like me who has spent most of her time under stress, but it was the stress from the life I chose to lead because it brought me some of the greatest moments. I thought I knew what stress felt like by juggling two majors along with tennis, or giving a speech in front of thousands of people or even the anxiety I would get before taking an exam. That stress of going on court to play an important match knowing your team needs you, or the pressure you feel when you have to perform to the best of your ability day in and day out, on and off the court. Just try to imagine that for a second, it is exhausting. Yet, none of that comes even close to the stress and pressure I felt those last few months before losing my mom. Have you ever felt like someone’s life is in your hands, let alone the life of the person you loved more than anything in this world? Yeah, me neither until September of last year.

Picture this. 15-20 phone calls a day to different medical institutions, insurance companies, nurses, friends, anyone that would give me some sort of advice or guidance. Most of those phone calls were wasted as it takes at least four different people to transfer me to the person I’m actually looking for, that is if they are willing to speak to a random, desperate daughter. From Eastern Europe, to Switzerland, to the United States doctors, everyone filled with excuses but no one to come up with a solution. Don’t get me wrong, I know there are many absolutely incredible doctors out there, I was the daughter of one of them, but because I was and did grow up surrounded by them, I know how the business side of the medical world works and when someone is not willing to help and instead is sugarcoating things when I just want the truth. Days filled with highest level of anxiety and stress, felt like every minute I could feel the clock ticking and time running out, without anyone to actually stop and say “Yes, I hear you and I will help you” instead I kept getting “sorry that is not on us, call someone else” answers. Looking back now, maybe I would have change something if someone told me I was fighting an already lost battle. So many lost opportunities, chats, hugs and moments I wasted on the phone instead on her. But we shouldn’t question things like this, because there will always be what ifs in life and those don’t help us, only bring more pain as we can’t ever take back the time.

You can find thousands of books dedicated to each of these topics, they are what make our world function, the good parts along with the hard ones. This is just my version of them so far, and everyone gets to experience them in their own way and make their unique stories from them. Yet, the one thing we should always keep in mind is the way we prioritize them in our life, remember achieving a materialistic success is not what life is all about. It is those friendships and moments you create along the way, the kind that will stay with you throughout your whole life. Trust me, if life worked this way, I would give it all up for just one more hug. Those special moments you share might be short, but you will remember them forever, so just soak it all in.


7 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Dok sam čitala tekst oči su mi bile pune suza, baš kao i tog dana kad sam saznala da je naša dr otišla na drugi svet. Bila je primer pravog dr, neko ko se svakoj bebi na uz radovao, sa njom pričao, prstiće brojao… neko ko je meni najlepše vesti saopštavao. Bila je pravi profesionalac kojoj se nije video ni jedan problem, a bila sam njen redovni pacijent 2021.godine… Katarina, budi zahvalna i ponosna na svoju majku,neguj uspomenu na nju, a i mi ćemo je saučaviti od zaborava.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Naša draga doktorica je bila sa nama preko 20 godina. Veže nas naš grad Osijek, naše prijateljstvo, naša deca. Ja sam bila pred porođaj kada sam čula tu strašnu vest. Noćima sam je sanjala. Mi smo izgubili divnog čoveka sa velikim Č, prijatelja, vrhunskog stručnjaka i nekog ko je bio vrlo vrlo posvećen i kada je rekla to je bio amin. Mi smo bili u sigurnim rukama. Draga Katarina imala si majku za ponos i diku.
    Puno pozdrava od nas tri Stanojevićke – Vesne, Milice i Tanje sa našom decom koju je i stvorila (jedno), čekala i dočekala zajedno sa nama.
    p.s. imala je i ima divnu Mirjanu sa kojom i danas negujemo prijateljstvo i uspomenu na nju
    p.s.s. plačem i čitam opet i opet

    Liked by 1 person

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