|A piping plover.|
He was varied and contradictory, as people often are, the good ones anyway, and after he died in January of COVID-19, his wife of 40 years grasped at the air where he had been. Part of that process was to write to me. There was guilt. For nearly a year, the couple lived like monks in a cell, going out only for doctors’ visits. She thinks that’s what killed him.
“I am sure I was exposed in the waiting room of a medical office, and I brought it home,” she wrote.
He went to the hospital, stayed two days, but was sent home over her objection.
“I wanted him to stay,” she wrote. “Just over 24 hours later, I found him on the floor, nearly unconscious, and he was transported to the hospital by ambulance again. This time he had a pulmonary embolism and hypoxia. Three days later he was on a ventilator, and one system after another began to fail. He was removed from machines, and he died.”
What was her husband like? He “made friends wherever he went. He was bright, funny, generous, caring and always interesting. His reserve of facts, especially about history, was amazing. He always supported me in everything I did.”
He was many things, really. He collected first editions and stamps. He liked to take photographs of birds.
“He loved birds and was constantly reading and learning about them and trying to add to his life list,” she wrote. “We spent a day recently at Machias Seal Island in Maine photographing puffins. His bird photography often won awards at the Crystal Lake Camera Club.”
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Photos are by one of the 524,000 Americans lost to COVID-19 this year.