You are a woman, 50 years old, married to the love of your life for 23 years.
Life is never easy, never soft, but love makes up for a lot. You share children, pets, and - eventually - grandchildren.
And then you get sick. They call it chronic myelogenous leukemia, a nasty disease that makes you fatigued all the time, makes you lose weight, makes you prone to infections.
That last bit is a problem. In January you come down with double pneumonia. In a good world, a just world, your doctor would admit you to the hospital, but you don't live in that kind of world. Your doctor sends you home with a prescription for antibiotics.
Your husband, a proud and private man, is forced to humble himself to provide even that much for you.
My wife's medicine has a $1.10 copay for each script. On Monday, the pharmacist we've dealt with for 40 years let us get it with 80 cents worth of dimes I had saved.Three dimes short of a copay. (What does that do to a man?)
Your husband knows the antibiotics might not be enough.
The pharmacist told me that I desperately needed to get my wife to a pulmonary specialist. The problem is that I've got 4 cents to do us until Feb. 3rd's SSDi.He takes you home, gives you your medicine, and tucks you in. And then he keeps vigil - hour after endless hour throughout the night he watches for every breath you take, fearful that each one might be your last. As dawn approaches he sits down at his computer and, once again, sets aside his pride and his privacy.
It seems that praying on my knees has been less than helpful and I guess what I'm doing is begging, but I ain't too proud to do that to save my wife's life.You get very angry with him for asking for help, for violating your family's privacy, but he will not let you die for pride. People hear his plea, good people, and they give your husband what he needs more than anything: Money. Advice. Friendship.
They give him what he needs to call an ambulance for you.
You start the long road back from the brink of death, you get out of the hospital, and you and your beloved pinch every penny you've been given by the good people, hoarding it as much as possible for the next bump in the road.
How can you imagine that your small stash from the good strangers at Daily Kos will be needed for this?
James Edward “Jim” Reynolds of Lynnville passed away Friday, at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. He was an electrician, a former employee of WKSR radio and 63 years old.
Folks, Jim Reynolds - a longtime Kossack - is gone, his burial partly paid for with our money. His pain and despair and poverty are over. His widow Tricia, however, picks up her grief and faces a life that is even bleaker than before. Jimmy's SSDI checks are no more. The bank account is closed. The PayPal account is closed. There is no family able to help.
I talked to Tricia for a long time Thursday night. So did Vetwife. When I asked her what she needs, she could only sob and say, "I need my Jim. I need my Jim back."
Well. Even Nurse Kelley, Vetwife, and llbear combined can't grant that wish.
What we can do, however, is replace the cushion she spent to bury Jim. We can also reach out to her from time to time with notes and cards. There are a couple of ways you can do this, and both of them require my email: KelleyRN2@gmail.com.
If you can send Tricia a money order or a prepaid card, or if you want to send her a condolence card, email me for her name and address. She asked me to include her email addy in case you want to reach her that way.
If you want to lump your contribution in with others, you can do it through my PayPal account and I'll see that she gets the money safely.
This is a one-time fundraiser for a long-term problem. If you don't have anything to give now but think you might in a month or two, go on and get Tricia's information today. The need will be there for a long time.
It's the kind of need most of us, thank God, have never experienced. I know Kossacks love their pets - mine mean the world to me - so hear this, friends: I talked to Tricia again last night and, casting about for a topic that might take her mind off her grief for a minute, I asked how her three dogs are doing...
The tears began flowing again. "I have to give them away. I can't afford to feed them."
I know you won't let that happen!
Tricia would also love to have a pendant for a pinch of Jimmy's cremains.
My personal preference would be for everyone to send Tricia a note, and include something if you can. Jim would like it, I think, if we offered his Darlin our friendship as well as our generosity. Her loneliness is ... crushing. That's the best word I can come up with for what she's experiencing.
A PERSONAL NOTE IN CLOSING
I left the Catholic church at the age of 18 - but I learned what matters from the nuns, who had less use for the Spiritual Works of Mercy than the Corporal Works of Mercy:
To feed the hungry,
To give drink to the thirsty,
To shelter the homeless,
To clothe the naked,
To ransom the captive,
To visit the sick,
To bury the dead.
I find it interesting that Kossacks don't shove their beliefs in others' faces, or tell others how to live their lives, yet we seem to understand the need for Works of Mercy and go out of our way to practice them. This is more than a blog, more than a community. For some of us - Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists, witches, nameyourflavors - it's our congregation.
UPDATE: I see some people have sent checks. If Tricia can't find a way to cash them herself, we'll get help from local Kossacks. We can do this!