“My Last Days with You”

Photo by Gabriela Lastra of FIU Honors College (CC by 4.0)

“Losing you was the hardest and most painful thing I’ve ever been through.

Losing you to a disease I could not cure, a pain I could not assuage, something completely out of my control. 

The last month was the hardest. Your decline was out of my control. In your descent into the unknown, you took pieces of my heart with you. I lost myself in your illness. My anger began to rise, I couldn’t understand why you would ever leave me. I tried to change the inevitable, but the truth rose to the surface over and over. You left me. 

You’re gone. 

I miss you. I love you.” 

The above poem was inspired by the loss of a loved one who I cared for in their last month of life. Although on hospice, my every waking moment was dedicated to assuaging their pain that my loved one was experiencing. 

In the De la Cruz Collection, I was exposed to my new favorite artist. Themes like life and death and the regenerative force that is life have always fascinated me. Those are themes that the late Felix Gonzales Torres explored in his pieces. The above piece, “Untitled” (31 Days of Bloodwork) was created as Gonzalez Torres’ lover was dying of AIDS. In viewing this piece, it was extremely difficult for me to compose my emotions because in the moment I saw the piece, I felt the way I felt when my loved one was dying. No matter how many times I looked over the lab work, no matter how many times I administered morphine, I couldn’t change the grim reality of death. In this death, I learned to face my own mortality. The ability to face death is incredible, and in doing so, we learn how life regenerates. and everything begins anew. 

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