Not Present

by wjw on December 5, 2020

I haven’t been present here much, and for the most discouraging of reasons.

About four weeks ago, Kathy’s younger sister Alice Emigh went into the hospital with a dreadful illness (not Covid).  Kathy flew East to be with her, but New York got new lockdown rules, and Kathy wasn’t allowed into the hospital to see Alice until she finally got special permission last week.  Alice was horribly ill and either unconscious or semi-conscious, and Kathy had to try to coordinate tests, treatment, and medical personnel over the phone.

At least she has a place to stay, since the hospital gave Kathy the keys to Alice’s house and car.

Despite excellent care on the part of the Albany Medical Center, Alice succumbed to a perfect storm of disease and passed away a few days ago.  Kathy now has to deal with Alice’s estate, and it’s unclear how long that will take.

Sometime after the pandemic drags to a close there will be a memorial for Alice, probably on Long Island where Kathy and Alice were raised.

As for me, I have been, ah— I think fretful is probably the best word— and I’m all too aware that the pandemic is blowing up again, and that if either Kathy or I get sick, the other will be thousands of miles away and able to do but fuck-all.

So I’m trying to stay locked down and safe.  I’ve got plenty of work, food, and alcohol.  I’m just not in the most bouncy frame of mind.

Stay safe, all.

Stacy Garrett December 5, 2020 at 8:09 am

So sorry for you and your family. These are hard times for so many. I hope you have a good support system to help you through this period.

steve December 5, 2020 at 10:47 am

I’m sorry to hear about your troubles. Being left alone to imagine all the horrible things that might happen is never fun. I am so grateful that I live in a place where people have enough respect for their fellow human beings to be responsible and wear a mask.

As long as everyone is looking out for each other and wearing masks, chances are she’ll be fine.

Jane Lindskold December 5, 2020 at 11:09 am

Hey, Walter. Hugs and hugs. If you need to blow off steam, either Jim or I are available to chat via phone.

Travis December 5, 2020 at 11:18 am

My condolences to you and yours.

Emily Marie Wagner December 5, 2020 at 11:29 am

So sorry for your loss. 🙁

Foxessa December 5, 2020 at 12:12 pm

I am so very sorry. Please convey my sympathies and condolences to Kathy — this is so very, very difficult.

I was just reading about New Mexico’s c-19 current lucha in the Washington Post’s long covereage this morning, thus prompted to check your posts here.

You need to be together at this time — and you cannot. That is just awful.

Jim December 5, 2020 at 12:51 pm

Sorry to read such sad news. Condolences and good thoughts for you and your wife.

Keep up the good fight and stay tough. All of this shall too come to pass, as better days along with better heads are in front of us.

Bruce Perens December 5, 2020 at 2:30 pm

So sorry to hear that.

My 20-year-old son is an EMT and in the middle of COVID-19 on a daily basis, as well as riots, shootings and fires. Obviously holiday dinner over video is not quite the same. To add insult to injury, the local college has repeatedly canceled paramedic studies because the labs have too much contact, despite the fact that we are essentially out of medical staff at the moment; and of course he can’t date, or socialize with anyone but his ambulance crew. So he feels his life has been put on hold. He finally registered for a commercial paramedic program, and will try to get college credit when things improve. We’re hoping he’ll get vaccine soon.

Thank you for being locked down, California will be out of ICU beds by the end of the month if the trend continues, and I think your state is worse. We need to save those beds for the people who risk their lives for us.

It surprised me that you have patience for a publisher that said maybe they would publish your finished manuscript in a year and a half. Lockdown must be the best market ever for ebooks; and as you’ve just seen, we can’t even count on living that long. Obviously it’s too late to do anything now, but maybe your agent and you should look around.

Chris December 5, 2020 at 3:09 pm

I’m so sorry. Kia kaha.

Diane Green December 5, 2020 at 3:33 pm

I’m so sorry for both of you. The best thing you can do to help her I’d stay safe and well. Eat properly, exercise etc.then you can be strong for her.
Sending love your way.

John F. MacMichael December 5, 2020 at 4:22 pm

I am very sorry for your loss.

Peri Fletcher December 5, 2020 at 5:43 pm

I am so sorry for your family’s loss. Such a sad time for you and your wife. Hoping for you to have happier times soon, and to stay healthy.

pecooper December 5, 2020 at 6:33 pm

I’m so sorry, Walter. I know a little bit of what you are going through. I lost my father in August.

wjw December 6, 2020 at 1:06 am

Thank you all for your kind wishes.

Catherine Jefferson December 6, 2020 at 3:08 am

I’m so sorry to hear all of this, Walter. Feel better, take care of yourself, don’t worry about us. Appreciate the note, even with bad news. 🙁

Clyde December 6, 2020 at 4:08 am

Just damn; such bad news. I lost a brother earlier this year and have some idea how you feel. (Not to Covid, but still … )
The 2020 hits just keep on coming don’t they?
Hang tough.

Derek December 6, 2020 at 10:22 am

My sympathies and commiserations Walter.
May Alice’s memory be a blessing, best wishes for a safe reunion with your partner.

Michael Mock December 7, 2020 at 12:01 am

My profoundest sympathies.

John Appel December 7, 2020 at 5:01 pm

Oh no, sir. Deepest condolences to you, Kathy, and your family.

Mike just Mike December 7, 2020 at 6:44 pm

That really sucks. This year has been terrible for a number of reasons. I feel for you both. Take care, and keep paddling; you’re almost through Lava Falls.

Bruce Arthurs December 7, 2020 at 11:14 pm

Condolences to Kathy, you and other family members and friends of Alice.

When Hilde was in the hospital (non-Covid reasons) for a week earlier this year, one of the most frustrating things (over and above her having to be in the hospital at all) was not being allowed to visit, and having to try and stay abreast of her diagnosis and recovery solely over the phone. I felt like I was getting only about 25% of the information I would normally get by being physically present at the hospital for hours each day and able to directly ask questions of nurses and doctors.

Nancy McDermot December 8, 2020 at 9:59 am

I worked with Alice here in Albany. Words can not express how deeply sadden and sorry I am at her loss. We had been told that Alice was in the hospital, but had not been told how seriously ill she was. I was shocked when we got the news. I hadn’t seen Alice since we went into work from home mode in mid-March, but she was one of the first to reach out to me and check in to see how I was fairing working from home. When she first came to work in our unit a couple of years ago, we bonded over reading and she shared a couple of your books with me. Please accept my sincere condolences.

wjw December 8, 2020 at 9:21 pm

Nancy, it’s so very good to hear from you. We don’t know any of Alice’s friends in Albany, and had no way to get in touch with them.

Nancy McDermott December 9, 2020 at 4:04 pm

I know things are a bit crazy right now, but if and when you are able to have a memorial service for her, I would love to know about it & possibly attend.

Feel free to reach out at any time via my email provided.

Thanks, Nancy

wjw December 10, 2020 at 4:31 pm

Nancy, we will be sure to let you know.

Shash December 10, 2020 at 7:07 pm

My condolences to the family and friends of Alice. Please stay safe and may Kathy experience a successful, timely, estate conclusion.

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