Who Would Have Thought

A year ago our family was in deep.  We were in deep dealing with Kramer’s cancer.  At about this time we started making the daily trips to Lacrosse for radiation and chemo.  At the time we just couldn’t imagine how we were going to this…all these trips.

Then the first week of it was terrible.  Kramer was short of breath…we ended up needed to put him on oxygen.  His oxygen need started to increase.  His headaches kicked in.  We were new to the whole lung cancer scenario, we didn’t know how to cope or what to expect.  It was all a lot.

The other day I was thinking about all we were doing last year at this time.  I couldn’t help but be a little thankful that if Kramer was to have to go through all of that, I’m glad it wasn’t compounded by the things that are happening in our world now.

Chemo patients are already so immune compromised, I can’t imagine the fear of travel and stopping at a gas station to pick up food.  We did that all the time.  If we were doing that now, I’d have to pack lunches….oh my.  Plus, Kramer was TERRIBLE at taking care of himself.  I preached and preached to him to wash his hands more…to use hand sanitizer, he was terrible about it.

All of the fear and anxiety we felt through all of that added to the anxiety of where the world is today would have been so much worse.

Having a plan to work really saved us both.  We knew when we had to leave.  We knew where we needed to go.  The plan always stayed the same so it was easy to work the plan.  In reality, as much as hated it all, working the plan gave us comfort.  It gave us a normal.  We had a focus.  We had a goal.  We worked the plan.

My heart goes out to the many people who are in the situation we were in last year.  I feel so bad for you all that are fighting a serious sickness and fighting the conditions our world is in at the same time.  I’ve heard cases of people with cancer who need surgeries but they are postponed.  I’ve heard some of wondering if they can still go to chemo.

I’ve got a huge soft spot in my heart for all you who have health issues and are stuck without a plan because COVID-19 came.  I have great sympathy, more than ever, for those of you who were trying to work the plan, and the plan is now changing…and a new plan isn’t in sight.  I so remember longing to just have a plan…to just know there was something I could do to move forward even if it was just a baby step, one more treatment…one day closer to the finish line.  I wish I could give you all a giant hug and literally, make the world problems go away.

So many of us think the hardships are being stuck in the house feeling bored, going without mayo on our sandwich because getting more would require a trip to the grocery store….the true hardships are more related to our health….the nurses, doctors and hospital staff, the patients who need care (and not just the COVID-19 care)…these are the people who are dealing with the worst hardships.

If one thing has happened through all of this…people are realizing what a true blessing good health is.

I also have a huge heart right now for recent widows.  I got a message recently from a new widow.  I can’t imagine dealing with all of this and a death too.  It’s hard enough having an empty house because of death let alone adding this to it too.  There were so many things I needed to do after Kramer’s death..the bank, the lawyer, the insurance places, vehicle registration…I can’t imagine how that all plays out through this when asked to stay home.

I can’t imagine going through the uncertainties that come with being a new widow compounded by the events of our world today….my heart goes out to you all.

It the strangest thing…Somehow, COVID-19 is making me thankful for the miserable year I had last year.  It’s somehow put things into perspective for me that things can always be worse.  Man, I hope something in 2021 doesn’t bring me to the realization that this year wasn’t so bad.  What a year…what a life.  Who would have thought?

My heart really does go out to new widows…to people facing uncertain health issues that are and aren’t related to COVID-19…Please don’t feel alone.  Drop a comment here.  I’m sure there are many who would happily lend a ear…write a note of support…help with ideas.  If you don’t feel comfortable with that, email me.  I’d be happy to be a listening ear.  I don’t want anyone to feel alone.  rogjok@iowatelecom.net

21 thoughts on “Who Would Have Thought”

  1. Well said, Jo. I think it is the prayer of most of us, that this will be worst year in that next year will be better. I have not gone through all that you and your family have, but have worked with those who have, and it isn’t easy in the best of times, so going through it now would be so much worse. Every day I still remind myself that I am so blessed – live near family, have everything I need, have plenty of projects to work on, no job (retired), and good health – I have so much and am thankful for all every day.

  2. We DO have so much to be thankful for and if this epidemic has done nothing else, it has has made us see so many things and people in a different light.
    Love and prayers

  3. I had a pacemaker implanted in early February, just before everything went sideways. The procedure was supposed to be done last July, but there were several complications. I’m so glad it was taken care of before covid-19 hit in earnest. My surgery was in New York City, which has been hit especially hard.

  4. Thanks for sharing your thoughtful perspective on the current crisis, Jo. Many of us feel the same and for those who don’t, perhaps your post will give them a new perspective on life in the age of COVID-19. Here’s hoping we will all be a little more thoughtful of others, a little more grateful for our the good in our lives, and a little more willing to help out however we can.

  5. My heart also goes out to everyone who has special concerns at this time. My son just had his 6 month scans to follow up his testicular cancer. Because we’re following some enlarged nodes I had this fear about recurrence. How would any chemo go this time around when family is no longer allowed with the patients? My husband or I stayed with him last time and my heart was breaking at the thought of him having to do this alone. Thankfully the reports look good and we’re waiting to speak with the doctor today as they cancelled after scan follow up appointments in the facility. Such a relief for us but there are people who won’t be so fortunate. We are fortunate though and are so grateful.

  6. Carolyn Sullivan

    Last year at this time, My DH was in ICU and it was looking grim for 48 hours or more. I couldn’t cry (I am a nurse) I was too scared to cry. But later, reading your posts, I was able to cry for you, and then for us…. My DH got better, and is fine now. 1 yr ago today (on his BD no less) and we are eternally grateful that he is not in ICU at this time.
    Prayers for you and yours, and anyone else going through this Covid 19 illness, or caretaking during it.
    stay safe! Stay home.

  7. Thinking about you and your family… hugs! Life is funny in that way – we look back and see blessings. Thanks for your perspective. I find much inspiration from nature that keeps me going… I guess it is the farm girl on me.

  8. My mom was diagnosed with cancer in Oct. 2018, at age 90. She decided to have palliative care and passed in June 2019. We took care of her on weekends for 3.5 years as she also had a little dementia.
    Her hospice nurse and I are the same age, our moms were the same age and our daughters are the same age. Her mom passed a month before my mom. We were just texting last week how glad we are that our moms are not having to go through this, but we would have liked to talk with them about the rationing during WWII.
    My 25 y.o. niece is undergoing chemo and that is very scary.

  9. Jo, this was one of those posts that I wish I could put back and save as it was just so perfect and well said.
    With this pandemic going around we never know what is going to happen and what life holds for us. I am happily married to a 73 year old and I am 55. I, so worried about something happening to him, God forbid, and I keep begging him to get all his affairs in order so I don’t have to worry about these things, and he says he has plenty of time….but we are still dealing with probate from his ex deceased wife and HER children and they do not want to settle for what they are entitled to….they want more….I do not want to have to deal with that if anything should happen to him…..but anyway, I hope everyone is well and staying in and has plenty of toilet paper…HAHAHA…..And by all means, keep on quilting!!!!

  10. Judith Fairchild

    Dear Jo, you have said it do well. I read a post on FB, it said change stuck to safe. It does feel better I’m so glad to be able to stay busy and family close by. Thankful I don’t have to get out and run anywhere right now my daughter does it. Keep on being and doing what you do best.
    Great post again.

  11. Nance mentioned the rationing in WWII. I was a child In a suburb of Los Angeles during that war, and remember that meat was rationed, and even if you had “stamps” to buy meat, the butcher sometimes didn’t have any. So my mother, an Iowa farm girl, raised chickens in our back yard. Sugar was rationed, and shoes, and of course gasoline. There were no new cars; everybody just drove an old clunker, if they could get gas. But we never felt in danger ourselves, as we do today from this plague. Of course, there was plenty of personal war danger in other parts of the world.

  12. Susan the Farm Quilter

    Having someone die during this pandemic is really awful. I’ve been caring for my dad in his home for the last 4 years. He passed on March 18, just 3 months short of reaching 99. I’m trying to find everything here, while my kids and husband are in all different states, stretching from the Pacific to the Atlantic!! No one can travel right now. It’s crazy, because even the professionals I need help from are unavailable! So glad you had your family close when you went through that deep valley last year.

  13. As an added wrinkle, the banks, lawyers, and insurance companies that those new widows are talking to might be closed, or working from home, or have alternative ways of working for social distancing. One of the banks in my area (in Massachusetts) has closed any branches without a drive-thru, and only drive-thru banking is available. Also, groups should be 10 or fewer — it sounds like funerals are a very different thing than they would have been a year ago.

    The average American wouldn’t have thought even a month ago that we’d be in this position now!

  14. My heart goes out to you Jo. I read each blog when you were going through the cancer. Grieving. What does that mean? Is grieving sitting in your house alone and crying? Is it being so busy you don’t have time to cry? I took care of my mother for the last 3 months in her home and hospice nurse coming one hour everyday. My mom was diagnosed with liver cancer 6 years ago. Doctors gave her 6 months to live. She got her things in order for us 4 kids. We waited for her to die. Then after Christmas we said forget this. She was not dieing and live her life with so much passion. Photographs captured her pure joy. Grateful to have everyday. I have never seen my mom so happy. After my dad died 6 years ago mom flourished. She traveled. Then last August was her turning point towards death. She had a drain put in her as the tumor was squishing things inside. She endured that. She learned how to clean it everyday. She was so proud of herself as well as my sisters and brother. All of us live within 20 min of each other. Everything went down hill fast. By Christmas I was staying with her 24/7 cause I didn’t work. I am so honored that I got to take care of her. We were best friends. The last 10 days of her life she suffered and I promised her I would let her die in her home and not suffer. I only lived up to one of those promises. I hope she can forgive me? I am not a nurse. I am a quilter. Nobody could control her pain. She layed there with eyes closed and moaned for 3 days. I will never forget that sound as long as I live. I was giving her liquid morphine every half hour. She still moaned. She died on March 12th. At the age of 81. Three weeks earlier I was playing cards with her. She got bad within 6 hours on a Monday. She was the last person to have a service in our church. Then the virus hit. Cleaning out her house was very hard on the weekends. Now I am making masks like crazy. I don’t feel very good. Not sick but did I , have I taken time to grieve? Am I supposed to? I miss her everyday and talk to her. No I am not crazy. If I start hearing answers, then I am crazy. I really don’t know why I am writing this. Tears are streaming down my face. She lived for her family, that’s all. But boy does it show in my siblings lives and their children. She taught us love.

    1. Linda…I am sure sewing those masks is a way to process all you have been through. Doing a plain, boring job like that often lets our mind process and work through all we have been through. I hope things get easier and easier for you. What a blessing that you had your mom beyond her time. I know your mom would forgive you for the pain she went through at the end. I’m a mom, I forgive everything…especially when I know they are all trying their best. Tears still come for me when I’m surrounded by people you “get this”. Hugs to you…

  15. Thank you Jo. I am embarrassed now that I wrote all that.
    Hugs and blessings to you.
    Stay well and sew sew sew

  16. Elizabeth Rodgers

    You are so right. When my Mom died, my Dad said he was glad she did not see 9/11. When my Dad died, I was so glad he did not see our response to Hurricane Katrina. We live in north Louisiana and died 5 days before. Now I am glad both are in heaven and not worrying or seeing this, both suffering and politics. Thank you Jo.

  17. So many things you say give comfort, forgiveness and grace to your readers that you don’t even know. I’ve been thinking that a year ago we weren’t even aware Russ was ill. I consider myself, still, a new widow. All the stuff with taxes, lawyers and just being alone. I too, thank the Lord that Russ didn’t have to live this corona virus thing. I’ll be fine, lonely, but fine. Love to you and all your readers. Stay safe and healthy!

  18. I was just was getting used to my new normal after losing my husband on 12-20-2019. Now I have a newer new normal. A dear friend tested positive for the virus and I was quarantined the first two weeks of March. I am so thankful she has recovered. I am a quilter but have not been able to finish even one project. I appreciate all you said in your blog post. Thanks Jo

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