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Seven Months of Covid

December 7, 2020

Seven Months of Covid

The first time I found out that Cheryl had Covid was on April 28, 2020 with her Facebook post, “I am fighting the virus. I can use all the prayers I can get.” My cousin Fred married Cheryl in the early 80s. He was the first cousin on my mom’s side to marry. They lost their first child after having a difficult labor. Her name was Kara Erin and according to my cousin, she was “beautiful.” Kara was born and died on September 23, 1983.

On July 1, 2020, Cheryl wrote on Facebook, “Tell the ones you love every day, how much you love them. I say this because in an instant, they could be gone.” Thankfully, Fred and Cheryl had two more children in the 1980s, Sean and Seth. Seth was born on Cheryl’s birthday, August 31, 1989. For the last 25 or more years, Cheryl lived with sickness, hospitals, and surgeries. And since her divorce many years ago, Cheryl fought the battle of sickness mostly alone.

Cheryl had what is now called “Long-Haul” Symptoms of Covid. “There is an urgent need to address long-term symptoms of the coronavirus, leading public health officials said this week, warning that hundreds of thousands of Americans and millions of people worldwide might experience lingering problems that could impede their ability to work and function normally.”  (“Covid Survivors With Long-Term Symptoms Need Urgent Attention, Experts Say,” NY Times, Pam Belluck, December 4, 2020) “’This is a phenomenon that is really quite real and quite extensive,’” Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, said at the conference on Thursday. While the number of people affected is still unknown, he said, if long-term symptoms afflict even a small proportion of the millions of people infected with the coronavirus, it is “going to represent a significant public health issue.”

On July 8, 2020, over two months after Cheryl was tested positive for Covid, she wrote a long exposition about Covid as well as so many other things. “I am starting a new group it’s called well I got many names for it and I would love your input I think right now we’re not together at all as a society and my goal is to get us together everybody, old people young people black people white people green yellow, tall short people. I feel like everyone is so narcissistic right now and all people really are thinking about is themselves when you just have to put on a mask to protect yourself and others and people are arguing about that. You have to wonder, it’s not like you have to inject something or get a drug or get something experimental. All we’re talking about is a mask and yet there are so many people out there that aren’t willing to do that and because they’re not going to do that, they’re testing positive for Covid-19. I personally want to try to get the numbers down to 0.

I tested positive and I’ve had it. It’s not something I would want anyone to get. Simple things like wearing PPE and masks could prevent it; that would be amazing. So many of our children and grandchildren are starting school in September and I want them to experience what I experienced and what are friends experienced. I want them to be able to be with other children and socialize. I don’t think home school is the answer. Half the fun of growing up is being with other people. It’s not always fun, sometimes you’re bullied. I was bullied as a child but you know what I learned from it and everybody learns from things that you do. I was talking to an Amazon rep for 2 hours and had the most interesting conversation and he lives in Chile and his lifestyle was completely different than mine. We grew up totally different and yet we both learned a lot from each other….

“Let’s see what we can do to really make this world a better place for our children, our grandchildren, our friends’ children and everybody and stop thinking about ourselves and start thinking about what we want the world to be everybody it’s a fight every day when I was fighting for my life I had to think of even the littlest thing just to make me go on and it’s not easy but I’ve also learned that nothing in life is easy and if it what he was easy we wouldn’t appreciate it….

“There are many different avenues around where people can talk to each other and get together and I think getting together is the key. Nobody wants to be alone nobody wants to deal with all the things home and we have stress at home we have stress at work we have stress with our families and our extended family right now and I don’t think there’s anywhere in life that there isn’t stress but I think that we can do better and we can like each other and help each other as opposed to saying, let’s do this together as far as I can see nobody’s doing it together starting all the way up all the way down…

“I know what I look at my granddaughter and my grandson all my problems go away I can’t be with them but virtual hugs and virtual kisses what I have to do right now and I know the day will come where I’ll get to do it for real and you know I try to keep up and let them hear my voice and see my face on Zoom or Skype you don’t like the way I think I’m not a big fan of social media but I do think it can be used for a good purpose you know I’ve met so many people and I’ve done so many things I’m just having to deal with what I’ve had to deal with that and I say get rid of the anger and the bitterness and all that and let’s just try to get along and to work together.”

There were more Facebook posts that Cheryl shared over the next few months:

On July 14, 2020, she wrote, “What would you do? Yesterday before therapy a man at rehab said to me, u know those Jews they’re all the same. It took me by surprise. What would u have said if anything? Since anti-Semitism and hate in general is on the rise, am I just being sensitive? Ór since he didn’t know I was Jewish were his true colors showing? He has made other comments before but this was definitely different. So… What would you have said or done if anything?”

She wrote on July 18, 2020, “I love these children (her grandchildren Ezra and Nora) more than I thought was possible. I’m learning how to walk again and when I see their 2 little faces, I get the motivation to go on. Hopefully next week, I will take my first step and so on and so on.”

July 23, 2020 “Well I stood up today. Haven’t gotten the courage to take my first steps but the day is young. I have PT this afternoon and I hope I will be in the right mind set to take a step. Who would of thought at my age that just taking a few steps would be so difficult. I guess I have to watch the videos of Ezra taking his first steps. Holding on to the couch for dear life with terror in his eyes. Finally letting go and the look of relief and joy in his face that he did it. Hopefully I will be able to report the same experience.”

July 25, 2020 “You are braver than you believe, Stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” Winnie the Pooh

July 26, 2020 “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.

Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” Martin Luther King

On July 28, 2020, Cheryl pleaded, “Those of you that don’t want to wear mask: would you rather wear oxygen for the rest of your life? Think about it!!!”

On August 12, 2020, she asked those who had Covid, “For those of u that lost your taste and smell because of the virus, have u gotten it back? If so how long since u have recovered did it take to get them back? For those of u that have gotten Covid-19 did u lose all your hair? If so, are you wearing a wig or just dealing with the hair loss?

I have lost all my hair in one day; my thick long hair all fell out. I couldn’t stand the outcome, so now I am wearing a wig 24/7.”

August 31, 2020, Cheryl wrote, “It’s my birthday today and my son’s Seth Birthday. I can’t believe 31 years ago, I had this 2-month-early 4lb-6oz baby boy. 31 years later, he is married to the love of his life Sarah. He’s a CPA with a great job, a new house, and a new dog. Happy Birthday Seth you’re an awesome young adult. have a Happy Birthday and an awesome day. I love you!!!!😘😘♥️♥️

It’s been a crazy year for me. The worst is I got Covid-19, was on a respirator etc .

The best news is I survived!!!

I am starting to learn to walk again. it’s hard work but worth it. I want to thank my OT’s and PT’s who have been so supportive and helped me so much remaining positive and helping me get through this hard time.”

October 2, 2020 “I voted today!!! Make sure you vote too. it’s up to us to make the difference.”

October 25, 2020 “Please wear your masks!!! I am recovering from the virus. I still can’t walk. I can’t remember things. I have muscle pain that is indescribable. My taste and smell still haven’t returned. Just think, by wearing a mask it will reduce your chances by 80% or more so you don’t have to go through this. I will never be the way I used to be so please wear a MASK.”

October 30, 2020 “To all my friends and family today is moving day!!!!! Can’t wait. Still not walking but I am getting there. My major message: Wear your mask!!! No excuses wash your hands all the time wear your mask! You never want to go through what I have gone through. To all have an awesome day. To Karen (her daughter-in-law’s mother who had Covid), I am thinking about you. Stay strong. You will get through this my thoughts and prayers r with you for a speedy recovery. To Craig (her daughter-in-law’s father who also had Covid), the same: stay strong, baby steps. You and Karen will get through this.”

November 6, 2020 “Exciting News!!!! Having one

of the worst medical years ever. I have my very own

apartment It is so beautiful !!!!!”

Nov 20, 2020 “Today I am going to ask my doctor about donating my plasma/antibodies against Covid. It would be so awesome if I could help someone else. The only immediate problem is I have been sick and I don’t know how long I have to be healthy before I can donate. Keep your fingers crossed.”

Cheryl last wrote on November 22, 2020, A“This little girl has changed my life. Sean’s little girl Nora. Now I am obsessed with 2 grandchildren. Ezra 5 1/2 and Nora 1 1/2 I am so blessed.” This was the last post she ever wrote on Facebook.

On December 1st, my wife, Judy and I, received the news from my cousin Fred that Cheryl passed away. Her father had also died on December 1st, seven years earlier.

Cheryl was buried on Wednesday, December 2nd, with only her two sons and her two daughters-in-law in attendance. The recording of the funeral was on the Internet the next day. It was a 20-minute service, Cheryl’s 60 years summed up in 20 minutes. She fought, according to the rabbi, through 25 years of sickness but he said “she won the battle,” since she had two wonderful children who were both happily married, and she had two grandchildren, Ezra and Nora. After 36 years, she had finally had a baby girl.

I believe that Covid also gave Cheryl’s life some more purpose. Cheryl became vocal on Facebook and tried to use her voice to warn of the dangers of Covid and to wear a mask. Many people may never understand that point of view but some of us will.

She wrote just ten days before her death that “it would be so awesome if I could help someone else.” My hope is that her words will help someone. Let her memory be a blessing, not just to her small family and friends but to all those who never knew her and yet are able to gain some wisdom from reading her words.

Cheryl had the effects of Covid-19 for seven months but her words are a warning to all of those who don’t believe in the devastation that this virus can cause, since it has already killed over 280,000 in the US and over a million souls around the world.

Cheryl’s life was fraught with sickness and sadness but she was blessed with two extraordinary children and two grandchildren and a voice at the end that sends shivers to those of us who are afraid in these times of Covid.

I go back to the words that Cheryl shared from Winnie the Pooh that can be lessons to all of us. “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” And I think of Chery’s own words that sum up her life so well, “Tell the ones you love every day, how much you love them. I say this because in an instant, they could be gone.”

Amen

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One Comment
  1. Lisa permalink

    Thank you for sharing this. I read the whole thing. Tears are streaming down my face as I read this. I’m glad she got to know her grandchildren, such a shame she was t able to cuddle and kiss them. She seems like a good person. I’m sorry for your loss and I’m really sorry for hers!

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