Moms Death was almost the death of me, TNQ

Hello Team Never Quit!!!!!

First off, thank you guys for the TNQ podcast and your service to this amazing country! I just started listening to your podcast this past week and have been binging on it while I work. I love the guests you have had on and their diversity as well. My girlfriend and I started a podcast called Falling Forward over the winter so I can appreciate how much of a pain in the ass it is to produce, edit, and scheduling guests. I have had no formal training on editing anything so its been a never quit story learning that in itself! haha.

On a serious note, I have been debating on sending my story in because I don’t feel like it is anything hard compared to the stories you have read on the episodes I have listened to. The more I have thought about it the more I thought that maybe it could help at least one person. I have felt like I have been fortunate in my life as there are so many hardships people have gone through and live with day to day that I do not feel like mine is anything special.

When I was in my senior year of High School my mom was in her own world, going through a divorce and struggling with alcoholism. I had a ton of credits to make up that year and was trying to get my shit together and get out of the partying group of friends I had prior. Two marine recruiters came to my school, told me I looked like I wanted to be a sniper, and acted impressed at my ability to do pull-ups. I decided that was what I wanted to do in life and worked my ass off to get my GPA up and make sure I would graduate. During that process my mother and I had a falling out and I stopped talking to her entirely. I couldn’t handle the drunk calls, misguided guilt from her divorce, and watching her and my step dad fight constantly. After I graduated, I talked to the recruiter again and had plans to take her to the lawyer for traffic violations charges to put an end to her miseries.

Before I took the test, I received a call from my moms new boyfriend who informed me that she was in the hospital and the doctor gave her 18-24 months to live. She had cirrhosis of the liver from alcoholism and there wasn’t a very good chance for her to get a liver transplant. I decided to focus on rebuilding my relationship with my mom and hold off on enlisting. The marine recruiters were less than happy to hear about this. I could tell by the way the Sgt. came into my job and accidentally broke the table I was working at when he knife handed it.

Over that time there were many ups and downs, weeks of sobriety and weeks of bing drinking and was about to be charged for DUI. Her boyfriend was not helpful for her situation but a necessary evil as she was extremely depressed and he brought her some glimpses of happiness. I took care of her financially when needed and turned into the parent for dozens of bad choices she made while drinking. She ended up living for almost three years, and I grew up very fast in that time.

on July 4th, 2011 she went into coma. Her kidneys shut down, her liver was failing, she was on three medications for her heart and a respirator as well to assist her breathing. The next day she started to squeeze my finger, wiggle her nose, feet, and her eyes would move towards me when I would tell her that I loved her. On July 6th, I received a call from the hospital at 05:00 saying she crashed and I needed to get to the hospital immediately. I met with multiple specialists, doctors, nurses and medical assistants who all told me there is a 50/50 chance that she may pull out of it. I knew that realistically there was a chance of brain damage, her liver would most likely fail during coma, and her kidneys could possibly recover at 30% but still didn’t seem likely. As the power of attorney at 21 years old I had to make the decision to take her off of life support.

About three months before that, my aunt went into a diabetic coma. When they “pulled the plug” on her, it took about ten minutes for her to pass away. It was not like the movies at all. She gasped for air, her body tensed as she struggled to breath. It was the first time I watched someone die right in front of me. Because of that, I asked the doctors to give my mom enough morphine to make her passing as fast and painless as possible. For my mother, it only took about one minute for her to pass away. It seemed painless and quick, I was extremely relived.

Within two months of her passing two of my cousins passed away as well. One from a battle with breast cancer, the other was a passenger in a drunk driving accident. Just before my mom passed away the girlfriend I had through all of my moms sickness broke up with me. It was not the best summer, but I kept focused on what was at hand.

Before my mom passed away I started a small lawn care business, I was happy to have done that and lucky to see her proud of it and the growth I had for the short period she saw. I was working a full time job and also growing the business I started. I would work 12-14 hour days then I would go to the gym after work to get my head on straight. I was extremely busy and did not have any time to stop and think about all that happened that year.

Winter came around and I was down to just working my full time job, once I slowed down, everything began to catch up to me. All of the guilt, anger, sadness, all the questions I had, and realizing that the last time I talked to my mom we got in an argument, my last words to her was a bitter, half genuine “I Love you too”. I began drinking more and more, partying to numb myself and distract any negative thought I had. I was drinking every night after the gym and spending all the money I had made that I was planning on investing into my business, on alcohol.

One night after the gym, I called up my friends to go get a drink. Everyone was busy, so I had a beer and stayed at home. I began to think about taking my mom off life support, all the what ifs and should haves. I grabbed the 1968 Colt diamondback .38 special that my mom had given to me before she died. I starred at it thinking about her, all the things I could have done differently, about my ex and how I thought I could never live without her. I pulled the hammer back. Thinking, “what would happen if I killed myself” and how it wouldn’t matter to anyone. As I started to raise the gun to my head. I Realized that I didn’t want my dad to find me, we were on bad terms but I would never want him to be the one who found me. So I decided I would drive up the canyon and call 911 before I did it. As I started to drive away from my house the adrenalin started to wear off and It hit me like a freight train. I turned around and went home. The next morning I woke up and told myself that no matter what I would never let myself get to that point again. I stopped drinking and focused on bodybuilding to keep myself out of that hole.

Within the years to come I never enlisted, I had more trials and tribulations. Relationships, more deaths in my family, and business problems that are normal but feel like the weight will crush you. I never felt accomplished, or that I was doing anything to actually help the people around me or better this world. I wanted to give up again, I still had guilt from my mom, and another failed relationship. I was struggling with day to day life, and hated the rut I was in. I finished work, and received a call from someone very close to me. He was crying and hystericaly telling me I needed to get to his parents house, that his mom sent a weird text and he thinks she may try to commit suicide. I drove as fast as I could, I was the first one there to find his mom unconscious on her bed, I shook her and called her husband. Her son showed up and we woke her up, I kept my calm, evaluated the situation, found out that she had taken xanax. Her husband who I had relaid information to arrived and we took her to the hospital, She survived and started recovery. I realized that I needed to make a change, that I needed to do something that would help people.

I asked my friend who is a detective with a local police department what he thought about me becoming a cop and his response was “Ive been waiting for you to ask me that” I lined up a ride a long. That day I worked a 14 hour day in summer heat, tried taking a nap but couldn’t sleep because I was too excited. Instead I went to the gym then went on my graveyard ride along. I got done a 06:00 and was wide awake. I knew it was the career I am meant for. I recently applied and passed the PT test and Oral board interview but didn’t have enough points to make it into the Academy this go around. So I will continue trying until I am a Police officer here in Salt Lake City, UT.

Sorry this is so long, but that is my never quit story. This past year getting ready for the oral board interview I was writing about my moms passing, I couldn’t write it out in detail. I asked my girlfriend and she told to write my feelings down on paper and snowball them from there, Writing anything that comes to mind. It was doing that, and talking to her that I realized that I thought I killed my mom. I had this ridiculous guilt that I pushed into the back of my head because I was raised to “just deal with” my emotions and never talked about it. I cried, then it was an instant relief of emotion. Like a dark could had parted from above me, and the sun was finally shining. I could sleep at night easily and I felt stable emotionally. It is hard to explain because it took 7 years to get that out, but I want everyone to know, even if you are like me and think your situation isn’t a big deal, because the only guarantee in life is death and you will lose the people you love, eventually. It is okay to talk to someone about what is hurting you regardless how big or small you think it is. Talk to a professional, a friend, your spouse, seriously anyone. Never hold it in because you want to be a man, especially because someone you know could be having a hard time and you talking to them could help them realize they are not alone, YOU are not alone.

I hope this diatribe wasn’t too hard to read, Thank you for helping me stay motivated and to keep pushing towards my dream of becoming an LEO!

Thank you for reading and letting me share my never quit story.


Author: Zach