Tag Archives: Covid Sucks

New Year

I say New Year, because I can’t quite give in fully to a Happy New Year. I’m not sure if I don’t want to acknowledge all of last year, if I want to hang on to the parts of last year that were good, or if I am just not ready to turn the page and see the new year as the blank page that many would have you think that it is.


What is ‘happy’ anyway? Right now, I feel like ‘happy’ is the glaze on a good cinnamon roll. It’s nice, but it isn’t the substance that makes the layers of sweet dough, butter, cinnamon and sugar come together to be the bit of heaven that a good cinnamon roll can be. I guess I feel like life is like that. If you roll up gratitude, adventure, love and connection, you have something that, like the cinnamon roll, is lovely on any day. And if you have all of those ingredients, then whether that day has the happy glaze or not, doesn’t really matter, as it is a good day none the less. (I probably should eat before writing so that my analogies are not food related. Fun fact: I don’t like alot of sweets, but a good cinnamon roll is my weakness – but please don’t send any as my comfort eating does not need the extra calories)


I guess that is how I am experiencing life right now – every day has the right ingredients, but it isn’t necessarily a happy day. People want to know every day how I am doing and there just isn’t one good answer to give. I am still sad alot some days. Not all the time, and not generally when I am with others, but there is just so much of everyday life that reminds me of what I have lost when Ted died, that sadness creeps in more than I ever thought that it could.


Yesterday, in preparation for the winter storm that they were predicting, I set about looking for the shovels, the windshield brushes, setting up the pallet and backstop so we could stack some wood up underneath the covered portion of the deck and trying to think of anything else that needed handled before the snows covered everything up . As I made my coffee – actually, I warmed up some coffee still in the pot from who knows when, but as I stood in the kitchen, I thought about how if Ted was here, he would already be outside doing all of those things. I would instead be making a full coarse breakfast while watering plants. I would feed him something like ham, potatoes, eggs and toast and he would go back out and continue to do all of the little things that I now must manage. Lucky for me, I have great neighbors and they said they were coming over to fix the gate by the garage (that wasn’t hanging quite right) and to make sure the snow blower would start. We needed some screws and they found them before I did – as I have said before, they have done many projects with Ted, so they know where Ted keeps lots of his extra pieces and parts. We got those projects done and they helped me secure the setup for the wood as well.

I was suppose to go to a New Year’s get together with my “Mom’s” group last night. The husbands were invited too. We will often include the husbands from time to time and the guys end up in one room and us Mom’s still get our time and hilarity together. I realized my perception has changed. All of a sudden, I was the single person coming to the couples gathering. I had to kick myself a bit and remind myself that it’s not like I haven’t gone to any of these functions without Ted before. He could totally decide an hour before we were to arrive that he just had too much to do and didn’t want to stop what he was doing, and so, off I would trot, without him, and never think another thing about it. I need to think of it like I’m just going without him, not that he will never be able to go again, or it is hard. Our gathering was cancelled due to the winter storm that had arrived and made the roads to hazardous to venture out on.

So this is a New Year, but really just another day. It won’t always be a Happy New Year, but it won’t always be a sad one either. I imagine it will be filled with many new and wonderous things and many memories. Every new turn might not lead in the direction I thought I was going, but I will trust that I am on the right road.

Love Sally

Tangled Lights

Last night, I was laying down to sleep and my mind was so lost that I couldn’t even pick out what it was even trying to focus on thinking about. Then, out of the blue, an exercise popped into my head. It was the one where you write yourself a note or letter. One where you are objective and look at yourself as an outsider and offer some kind words and understanding. I realized I was a jumble of tangled emotions and the picture of Christmas lights popped into my head. You know, the ones where in haste, the lights are thrown into a container and somehow during the storage period, they all get intertwined and when you reach in next time to use them, they are so tangled that it feels like it would be easier to pitch them and go buy new ones.

And so I wrote: Dear Sal, I know it hurts and you just don’t even know how to feel your way through all of the emotions. You feel sad, alone, unsure, doubting and like all of the emotions are wrapped in a knot that feels like it won’t ever be undone. You use to have this other person to love, to blame, to lean on, to have an excuse about and now you don’t. Now its just you and you’re not sure where yourself really starts and stops because it was always intertwined with Ted. Now there is this scary prospect of finding out who you really are, where you want to go with life, what you want to do. Take your time and think about that. Be honest with yourself. I know you are mad too. Mad that you have to deal with shit you don’t want to even look at. Tired of thinking about what needs to be done. tired of waking up and not getting back to sleep. So desperately not wanting to deal with bills and decisions even though you have been the only one to pay bills for 32 years.

Then I got a text from a friend who’s sister also just lost her husband. She said that she was thinking of me and her sister and that today would have been their 33rd anniversary. She also included the photo below. (it wasn’t the first time someone sent it to me, but I’ll include it because it is a good one and one I agree with)

I tried to think of a response, but was feeling so raw in connecting my pain and her sister’s pain and knowing that while similar, we are also different, that again, my emotional christmas lights were too jumbled to untangle so as to even write a message in response.

I simply fell asleep and actually slept till around 4 in the morning. I awoke thinking about my friend and her sister and how to formulate a response. I finally responded to the anniversary reference.

“Thirty three years. My Ted and I just celebrated 32 in August – a few days after Koo’s birthday. I hope it has been a good day for her. One where she picked a few things to do or eat that she knew they both would have loved to do together. I hope this one day was free of the mess of emotions that follows the death of a long time love and spouse. I cry for her or maybe I’m just crying for me. Or both. I hope she is able to look in wonder at what must be rushing in from all corners of her life to fill the void of the loss of a great one. It’s hard to not just get stuck in feeling the void. I know, as I feel her void and mine so deeply right now. For me, it is like looking at the Grand Canyon. It is beautiful and daunting and you can’t ever see or capture all of it in one look or picture, so you feel like you can’t really ever describe it fully. Hugs to Julia and to you both for your friendship.”

I thought I had felt through enough emotions in the past many hours, but when I got to work, I remembered that our owner and one of the sales guys had gone to visit another of our sales guys who has declined in health rather rapidly and was just put onto hospice. In recounting their stories of their visit, it brought me back to Ted in the hospital and his last decline. It was relayed that if I wanted to visit, that I should get to his home soon, as it wasn’t looking good. I had to admit that it might be cowardice, but I wasn’t feeling like I could face that situation right now. Seeing him in near coma and having to look at his wife in her desperate need to keep him alive felt like I’d be standing in front of a mirror that was on magnification and in that moment of contemplation, just didn’t want to see myself in his wife’s eyes.

The decision was not necessary, as he passed away before we even made it to the lunch hour. I thought about his wife and family again and how they will now have to work through having such a void in their lives and learn how to live in a space without his body but still so full of his spirit. Our entire office was sad and quiet for most of the remainder of the day.

Through all of this onslaught of events that were thrown at me today, through trying to convey responses and basic communications, I felt the tangle of emotions loosen. It felt like a few bulbs made their way out of the mess and more were readily available to lay out for use as well. I know there are still more tangles in there, but to get half a string free feels better.

And to balance out the heaviness of the past 20 hours or so, I received a message that my pregnant friend was heading to the hospital to have her baby. As I write, they are sending me photos from the hospital sharing their story of the birth of their first child. Happy hospital drama this time around. I’ll be glad to shed some tears for joy later when baby Rio arrives.

Love, Sally

A Beer with Ted

Today was my appointment to pick up Ted from the cremation place. I had no idea what I would be feeling, so I took the afternoon off. The cremation facility was not too far from the hospital, so I had decided I would swing by the hospital first and drop off a plate of the home made Christmas decorated cookies that the kids had come up and made with us yesterday. I was a bit shaky walking up to the ICU with emotions creeping in that this was a different mission and that Ted wasn’t at the end of the long walk up to ICU anymore.

My melancholy vanished at the sight of the main nurse that had taken care of us both so well. I got to talk and laugh some really good laughs with her and got to see and hug some of my other nurses as well. So, by the time I left, I was feeling thankful and no longer sad.

It was a beautiful drive to the cremation place. It was unseasonably warm – I drove with the window down – and the route followed the Platt River and it just felt like a good day.

The cremation place was locked and you had to ring the buzzer for entry. For a second, it felt like a secret entrance to a speakeasy lounge or something. Inside, it looked like a small reception area for the times that they host funerals or calling hours. I produced my ID and they produced a rather heavy black polymer container holding Ted’s ashes. They also provided the death certificates and the travel papers should I be traveling with his ashes anywhere beyond going home. It amused me that I should have to take a passport of such if I was to be hauling his entire remains around.

It was so nice out that I really felt like it was the kind of day that Ted and I would stop and enjoy the day and have a beer together somewhere. I quickly cycled through some breweries that I remembered being in the area, thinking that I could take Ted into a bar and we still could have a beer together today. It didn’t take long for me to dismiss the thought. Walking into a bar with my dead husband’s ashes sounded a bit too much like the start of a joke, and really, his bar at the house was where we should have a beer, so I headed home.

No one was home when I arrived, so I took Ted down and sat him atop the bar, got out a beer, poured half into a small glass for me and left the other half in the bottle, next to his box. This was how we often spit a beer. I got the small glass and he finished what was left in the can or bottle. I had just toasted and had a few sips of beer when Devin arrived home with his skateboarding friend. He asked what I was doing (I was not normally at home at this time in the afternoon) and I told him. His face registered some shock (I guess I failed to relay that I was picking up the ashes today), but he quickly recovered and he asked if he could have a swig of his Dad’s beer . I said sure, and together, we again toasted and then decided to check out the contents of the box.

We both commented that the ashes were grittier to the touch (through the bag) than we had expected. We closed the box back up and the kids headed back out to the skate park. I came upstairs and hooked up Ted’s office computer to do some work, but felt like I didn’t get to finish my little talk with Ted, so I headed back downstairs. I told him that I needed him to help me out with some of his secrets. I started with where to find the magic switch for the hidden TV in the bar. I found one of his headlamps in the bar area and proceeded to really delve into checking out the space once more. It only took maybe ten minutes and I found the switch. Ok then, I said, lets work on where are the guns and some of the money you have hidden. We had an issue earlier this year where we felt we should move all the guns and I generally don’t give a hoot where he puts stuff, so I wasn’t made privy to the new hiding spots. I went to where I felt he would most likely have stashed some of the stuff and in another 15 minutes or so, found the guns, some silver coins, one stash of cash (I’m sure there is a few hundred here and there, so more likely to be found). I had already looked in all of these spaces, but for some reason, today, Ted seemed to be directing me to spaces where I needed to look but had not gotten to in prior searches.

Who knew that all I needed was to do was sit down, have a beer with Ted and ask. Thanks Ted for the early Christmas presents. I hope I don’t have to have a beer every time I have a question. LOL

All in all it was a much better day than I was afraid it would be. Just goes to show you that you shouldn’t project what might happen and should instead flow with what does happen and appreciate it.

It is good to have Ted back in the house today.

Love Sally

A Big Wave

They say grief comes in waves, yesterday was a big wave.

It was a hard day. As fate would have it, I was alone most of the day as Devin was visiting a friend and that was probably for the best as it allowed me space to deal with issues and emotions unfettered.

I had taken the day off from work because I had to call social security and the hospital and several other entities that can take up more than a lunch or ten-minute break would allow. It was also the day of Ted’s cremation and I felt like it might be a harder day and work wasn’t the place to process those emotions.

I couldn’t have been more right. The finality of it hit hard. It was so akin to the same feelings I had when Mom died and they closed the casket. I can remember feeling that my connection was somehow severed when that casket was closed. To not be able to see Mom again – even her dead body was comfort to me – and to have her closed away was too much. I honestly remember thinking that given the option, I would have had her stuffed and put somewhere that I could at least see her and have her near. That same feeling washed over me yesterday in the knowledge that Ted’s body was now also gone to me.

Just like when it happened with mom, the tears flowed. The hurt and pain of the loneliness were palpable. Spiritually, I know I don’t need the presence of a body to be connected, but viscerally, I want the face to look at, the arms to hold, and the touch and smell of the person. I wonder if tears flow so that the uncontrolled part of ourselves emits what we cannot say, and joins the atmosphere where we are so loved, and thus somewhere deep inside we know the flow of connection is still strong and always will be. Anyway, that’s my theory and I’m sticking to it.

Oh, and just so you know, lots of tears can be generated and sent down the cheeks while on hold with the social security office. Time well spent.

There will be more hard days, but that one is behind me. The sun will be up soon with a new promise of life to be seen, experienced, wondered about, and enjoyed.

Thanks for listening.

Love, Sally

Death doesn’t change some things

In my life, there has seemed to be an unwritten rule of the universe: that plumbing doesn’t fail until you have guests in the house. I had thought it might be a Ted thing as we have a storied history of plumbing issues when we have company in town, but I guess death didn’t change that.

To be honest, I had known something was amiss before Ted was ever admitted to the hospital, (and so did he by the way), but it wasn’t mass critical, so I let it go. The water would lose pressure about once per day (usually while I was in the shower), but after 5-10 seconds, the pump would then kick on and everything was hunky dory once again. As the hospital stay got longer, so did the pauses in water outages until the pressure would again kick on.

Just prior to my friend arriving, I counted to 30 Mississippi’s before the water decided to turn back on as I stood all lathered up hoping that I hadn’t waited too long to instigate a fix. I thanked the plumbing angels when it did resume and vowed that I would take action. Just a few days prior, I had googled the issue and came to the conclusion that it was the pressure tank switch and I should just call the neighbor, whom has had many discussions of plumbing with Ted, and so, I would ask him over to consult.

Of coarse, things then got busy. My friend was here and we were catching up and visiting other old friends and while I didn’t get the neighbor called, I did warn my friend for when she decided to take a shower. We were able to still do dishes, laundry and showers -up until yesterday – mid morning that is. I went downstairs to tell Devin we were leaving and he said something was amiss and asked me to come check out the leak in the ‘control room’ (that is as loose of a term as you can possibly imagine – think mad scientist workbench in with all the plumbing apparatus of radiant heat with 12 zones, no covers to any wires and stuff stashed everywhere).

Water was dripping from a switch and starting to smoke. Seemed bad, so I turned off the pump, turned four shut off valves – I figured, better to cut off water as much as possible until we returned, and then, on our way out, called the neighbor.

He came over after work and we both came to the same conclusion that it was very likely the pressure tank switch. My job was to drain the pressure tank and check the pressure as that would tell us which switch to purchase – they come in various pressure ranges. The good news was, I was filling up 5 gallon buckets like no ones business and was able to flush all the toilets, fill their tanks back up, put a bucket by each one in case someone needed to flush again, and also water the plants and some of the shrubs outside. Overkill Fill (common reference for Ted), had, of coarse, the largest pressure tank available and so it felt as though I’d never get it all drained.

Once drained, I checked the pressure, and wouldn’t you know it, he also had the switch with the largest pressure range to go with the big tank. My handy dandy neighbor had stopped and picked up the switch on his way home. One of us had watched a YouTube video enough times to know how to swap it out proficiently – it wasn’t me – and by mid-evening, we again had water. It likely went so smooth because my company had just left earlier in the day and we no longer had the ‘guest plumbing curse’ active.

I suppose this is how things will be now that I don’t have the consummate repair guy in the house – try to figure things out, make a guess, call in the reserves and stand there and hold tools and parts as needed.

At least we have nearly all the tools and spare parts to fix almost anything (finding them is another story). And he left me with lots of great people who are willing to help out.

Thanks for the support.

Love Sally

Memorial Plans

I know everyone is interested in what the plans are for celebrating the fun and times we all had with Mike/Ted in work and play, family and friendships.

He was not a formal service kind of guy – which is why it worked out well for us to get married as part of a hiking trip in the Colorado mountains 32 years ago. So, as I previously eluded to, we will have a cornhole gathering with fun and merriment to get all who wish to gather and share their stories, antics, hugs, and toasts. The new plans though, are to have two celebrations and not just one. These dates are yet to be determined, but you will have a choice of coming to one in Colorado or one in Ohio. Ted and I both have family and friends in both locations, so it makes sense to have a celebration in both spots and let those who would like to participate select the best spot for them. The boys and I will be at both (at least I hope we can be). I’m currently thinking that it will likely be toward spring and/or summer. I’ll check with the main crews to help at each location and let you know in a future post.

Ted’s body will be cremated in the next week or so (exact date not yet given), and then we will decide if he will be shaken over his beloved raspberries, added to the filler of the cornhole bags (just kidding), divided up and taken to his favorite spots (I picture me filtering out the ashes through my pockets as in The Shawshank Redemption movie – since I believe it might be illegal), part of our houseplants, buried beside our beloved Kelsie and Bullseye, or put on a shelf – (well closed, so we don’t just think it is extra dusty on that shelf and vacuum him up), or added to the church columbarium.

I’m not in a rush to decide and don’t feel like I have to decide right away anyway. For now, I might just stuff him in a punching bag or in a teddy bear. Could depend on the day.

Love Sally

Blind Sided

Today I awoke and realized there are still important people in our lives who may not know what has happened. People we only connect with via text and phone that likely haven’t seen or heard there were posts.

It was akin to catching that freshly formed scab on the doorway as you walk through and suddenly the pain, blood, and tears are right back to when you sustained the wound. The only difference is, it feels like I’m inflicting wounds as well. I know these friends have been blindsided without the chance to have been knowing about what was going on like those who had access to the blog and knew what was happening as it occurred.

I’ll not blame myself for not thinking of everyone while this was all happening, but I’ll also not deny that to hear and read their shock and horror penetrates the part of me that wanted to think that I was prepared, but so very much associates with the shock and horror of it and doesn’t know what to say or where to go from here.

If you read this and can think of anyone who should know, please reach out and tell them or let me know so that I can do so. I am sure there are some whom I am still too much in a fog to see.

Thanks again for your texts, messages and love.

Sally

Thank You

I want to thank everyone who has reached out via a message on the blog. Seeing the responses have been wonderful for me to read. Also, thank you if you texted, called, left a message, or emailed me. Please know that all forms of communication have been appreciated and please know that they touched my heart even if I wasn’t able to respond at the time and it was later buried in the avalanche of communication.

I thank you all who have hugged us in person or virtually. We feel them all.

Yesterday, I awoke before dawn and there had been a message from one of my pals who is always in charge of coffee when we travel together. so since she isn’t far from the grocery store that I needed to get to first thing, I asked if I could come over for some coffee.

I I left and walked past the remnants of the plants in the flower beds, I got weepy thinking of Ted. I got into the car and started to drive over and again something triggered a Ted thought and again I was crying. Exasperated with myself a bit as I just didn’t want to be the gal about town that always has the puffy watery eyes, I grabbed my dark sunglasses from the seat and threw them on as my best shield. Then, like some sort of magic, I immediately stopped crying. I actually giggled a little at the absurdity of it, but was happy for it all the same.

My sister called and we cried and then laughed at the dark sunglass trick too.

When I arrived at my friends house, she grabbed me and pulled me into a hug like she was fishing me out of the ocean where I had been treading water for too long and had started to flounder. I mean, metaphorically, it likely isn’t too far off, but it literally felt like that as well.

We cried some more – I had taken the magic dark glasses off, so the tears rolled. We laughed too, cause tears go with good laughs and good cries.

We just couldn’t believe that of all people, Ted would be the one to get Covid bad and die. He was healthy and he had prepared for if he was to get it. He had everything to combat it. It just wasn’t in anyone’s imagination of how Ted could some day die.

I then started to tell her that I really thought that in the end…… and I paused to get the words straight in my mind, and I was choking up again because it’s just so hard to think or talk about losing someone. I could see in her face that she was trying to think of the end of the sentence that I couldn’t quite get out. I finally put it together and said that I really thought that if Ted were to ever died, it would be because I killed him, not covid. She busted a gut because she has known us through all of our marriage and has even worked for us when we worked together. She knows how much we loved each other but could also get on each other’s nerves if we tried. I guess the message was really, this was just inconceivable and unfathomable.

More friends stopped over during the day, Ciara and Galen came up and Devin was here, and even more people stopped by, and it was a love filled day.

Today looks to be more of the same as I get together with the friends that have known both Ted and I from before we were even married. More hugs, more tears, more stories, more laughter. I’m grateful for it all and everyone.

Thanks Again,

Sally

Mike Ted’s Party

Ted has been in the ICU since October 19th and today he got out.

He didn’t walk out with me like I had hoped, but his spirit is free from the horrid Covid and free from his ravaged body. Everything went sideways today and he just couldn’t overcome it.

My first emotion is shock followed by an overwhelming gratitude. I’ve been lucky and have thirty some years of memories to hold fast to. While I know he is gone, my mind – or maybe it’s my heart – doesn’t want to believe it. I feel like I’ll go home and he’ll be in the garden messing with his water storage system and making sure nothing will freeze in the next cold spell. He’ll be mad that we didn’t fold up the plastic for the secondary greenhouse and will comment that the heater for the bees isn’t how he wants it – but will acknowledge that at least we tried and it should work. He’ll be exasperated at why we haven’t brought more wood over and gotten it cut and split because you know we are going to get hit by cold and snow before we know it.

I also feel lost. We have been part of each other for 32 years and can’t imagine what this will be like. I am also now so use to coming to the hospital everyday and watching his care and connecting with this incredible hospital family of folks who have cared for the both of us, that I feel sad for losing them as well as Ted. Weird I know, but I do get attached to folk. (well, some I am holding onto and will definitely stay in touch with, but still.)

I’m the one use to adventures and having Ted there at home to return to. Now he has gone onto the eternal adventure and I’m left as the one at home.

It is going to take the brain trust of everyone we know just to figure out all of the contraptions and things that Ted has contrived in and around the house. I hope I can find at least some of his hidden stashes. He never much read manuals, but I sure wish he had written one to go with all the switches, hidden compartments, LED setups that are abundantly thoughout the interior and exterior of the house. This just may be the worlds next mystery.

Ted was my guy. I could bitch at him, to him, make fun of him, love him, want to kill him, make him three full coarse meals a day if we were both home, find his tools when he couldn’t remember where he set them down and threatened to buy five of whatever was missing so that he would always have the tool handy. He was my guy who could fix anything and if he couldn’t, he’d make sure it was so broken that no one could. He’s been the only guy I even ever dreamt about. I mean I have friends that have really good hot dreams with all kinds of famous people, but my hot dreams always had Ted in them.

One of my dear friends that is across country booked a flight yesterday so that she could come be with me for a while. I think some angel must have known and whispered into her ear that the time to come was now.

I’ll be around for hugs and will need lots of those and will return them as I know so many of you also need a hug because Ted wasn’t just my guy, he was lots of people’s guy and it isn’t just me that lost him today.

Ted’s body won’t be around, but Ted’s energy will always be in our midst. There will be tons of reminders for us all.

I feel like we’ll need a memorial cornhole tournament at some future date for us all to celebrate his time with us. Maybe a pig roast to go with. I don’t know, but with everyone’s help, we shall figure it out.

He’d want a party.

I want Ted.

I don’t suppose there will be a daily update now, but I’m sure thoughts will eek out and I’ll share since you have come this far with me.

Hug your loved ones today, tell them you love them, get vaxed if you haven’t already.

Thank you for being a part of his and my lives.

Love Sally

Dealers Choice

Today I came in and Ted’s mouth sores were so much better. Or maybe I should say that the bloody scabs finally succumbed to all of the meds and moisture that has been copiously applied and so they had released and in turn, he looked so so much better.

They tried to come out of the sedation a slight bit, but Ted’s body would have none of it and everything was precarious for a time again. Luckily that wasn’t when any of his visitors had been around. His lungs continue to decline and his O2 stats rapidly drop if he has any movement with his body. Even repositioning him seems to take it out of him anymore whether he is sedated like an elephant or just like a bear. Either way, he is under copious amounts of sedation (along with the paralytic) and that too takes a toll on a body.

While I have always known that this is not really in any of our hands, I am starting to feel that Ted is folding his hand in this poker game and going home with the dealer. Every time that his body is given a chance, it says Heck NO and they have to take measures to take him out of the equation once again so that the body can be made to work without his influence. It feels like somebody’s hand will be forced very soon and either he’s been holding Aces or we will know that we have all gone “all in” and have lost this game.

A friend texted me today that : If love could clear Ted’s lungs and dry my tears, I’d be on my way home.” Truer words could not be said. I get asked alot from the Doctors/nurses/staff, if I have the support around me to cope with this. I always reply that I am perhaps the most blessed person alive with all of the support that has been mounted for Ted and myself. If love and support could fix his lungs, this would have been over long ago.

As for tonight, all bets are off and hoping for a new hand tomorrow.

Than you all for your continued love and support.

Love Sally