It’s been a difficult year so far, but last week it got a lot harder.
At the beginning of January an elderly friend died. She was a great person, and I miss her a lot, but she’d been in pain and bedridden for a while. In her late-80s, with rheumatoid arthritis that was proving difficult to treat she’d really started feeling (and expressing) that she’d had enough. There was a lovely funeral at which her three children did this great hand-off to each other remembrance of her life. I think about her often.
Then, coronavirus landed in a serious way and started to change how we live.
I have no issues with lockdown and social distancing (except that they were imposed too late to make a difference to many people). And for a good while I felt lucky that the one person I knew who became ill with Covid got better fairly quickly.
Then, last week, that all changed. My ex-husband (very ex – around 20 years) died of Covid-related pneumonia. He’d had surgery a number of weeks earlier and was struggling with the recovery – but he was recovering. It had been clear it would be a difficult recovery, so no one was surprised by that … we all just continued to worry and hope.
But as we know this coronavirus hits worst when the immune system isn’t strong to begin with and that’s where he was. His partner was able to get him moved to the community hospital near where they lived and she was allowed to visit him (she’s now self-quarantining). So, at least she could be with him before he died.
Last Tuesday, however, his body gave out. It’s hard to fathom that this vital, engaged human being who contributed so much is gone. I’m very sad. I’m also hugely frustrated that we can’t gather together to grieve and celebrate a life well lived and support his partner, make sure she’s not alone. But we’re coming up with online and on-paper ways to memorialise him and provide support and no one is complaining. Just being focused and creative, thinking about him, and finding our solace where we can.
Rest in peace, Pete.