Four Months

It’s been four months since Jonathan’s fight ended

Four months since he was stolen from us. Stolen by the virus, stolen by poor judgement, stolen by lack of knowledge; stolen from everything he knew and loved. 

The flashbacks have gotten worse lately, I was able to snap myself out of it originally. Now, I have images of him during his hospitalization and from that morning he passed in my head and I can’t get them out. I try to use the techniques my trauma counselor has worked with me on, but it does nothing which then ultimately leads to a panic attack. It isn’t triggered by anything, I could just be walking and then I will hear a voice inside my head say “Jonathan has died” and it’s game over. 

Jonathan was in the hospital for 28 days, and I have no idea what happened to him. I have no idea why he was intubated, I have no idea how he went to “recovering” , “preparing for discharge” and “best lungs on the floor” to where we are right now. I have no answers, because my questions were never answered by the only people that could have and should have. I know now that I will unfortunately never have answers. Our families will have to spend however long we have left on this earth not knowing why. I am not sure Jonathan even knew what happened. Why he was intubated, how he was not allowed to speak to me prior, how a doctor never attempted to contact me to tell me they were intubating him I can only imagine Jonathan would be just as confused as we all are.

I wish just one person would tell me what happened

I am not looking for a full 28 day breakdown, I just want to know what happened the morning they intubated him and the morning he passed. It sounds crazy that I don’t know these things, I should he was in the hospital but I don’t, I have no idea what happened.

Last night I was playing with the kids, and all of a sudden I felt like the wind was sucked out of me. It hit me that Penelope won’t have any true memories of her dad, none will be first hand memories. Fuck, how do I even begin to make that sound ok because it won’t. Jonathan wanted a daughter more than anything in the world. Our first two miscarriages were devastating on us as a couple, but as individuals as well. But each time we became pregnant we were so hopeful for a healthy pregnancy, still slightly hoping it would be a girl. When we went through IVF, we had 7 healthy embryos (all boys), we were ecstatic to have a son. After Braedyn we had no interest in becoming pregnant again and we ultimately made a decision in September 2018 to start looking into adopting after Braedyn’s first birthday. One month after that decision was made we found out we were not only pregnant (without any assistance), but pregnant with a little girl. 

Her birth was complicated, and after trying to push for 5 hours it was clear I needed a C-section. When Penelope finally made her grand entrance I remember Jonathan jumping up from behind me to see her (he was quickly grabbed by the anesthesiologist so he didn’t pass out) and him yelling “babe she’s here!” The pride he had over his children was the greatest blessing a person could ever witness. 

Penelope’s first word was “Da”, when Jonathan would walk in after work she would crawl to him as fast as she could yelling “HI DA HI DA HI DA”. She was 100% a daddy’s girl. She was truly his princess, he worshipped her. Knowing she will never remember that first hand is like losing him all over again. The way Jonathan loved and treated me is how a man should treat a woman. Penelope deserved to grow up seeing that first hand, her time being his princess was too short. 

Braedyn also lost his best friend, the bond Jonathan shared with him is irrerplacable. Both of our children had this deep bond with their dad, and it was stolen from them.

I am trying to make up for it, I know I could never replace it (I have no interest to). But I am not able to be the mom I want to be, the last 5 months since Jonathan became sick has thrown me into a world unknown. I am trying to be the mom that I loved being, I am trying to manage a household on my own, I am trying to take care of Jonathan’s estate , I am trying to figure out what our future will be. But my “trying” is absolutely failing, I can’t keep my head above water. I can’t give them the attention I want to. I can’t keep the house running, I can’t keep up with attorneys, accountants, insurance companies. I want to be the person I was before this, but it seems undoable. 

I feel incompetent, I think of all the things Jonathan loved about me, what he admired about me. All those things he felt toward me that is so obvious in every picture we have together, that woman he fell in love with she’s gone. She died when he did, and I don’t know how to bring even some version of her back. 

He was my compass, he brought me to where I needed to be and I know I was that person for him as well. When he was first intubated I spoke with the hospital chaplain every day. She had also met with Jonathan before he was intubated and had spoken with him about us. I asked her what he had said, and she told me he kept saying “I love my wife, she is the strongest person I’ve ever met; she is my rock”. And I know I was, but now I am trying to find that balance without him which I just can’t seem to do. And to be completely honest I shouldn’t have to. He should be here, he should have come home. The idea of living the next how many years without him only makes this worse. There’s no fix for this, just years and years of suffering, years of knowing I’m farther away from him. 

He has become just stories now, there are no longer new memories. Jonathan lit up the room when he walked in it. Now that he’s not here everything feels so dark, there’s no light that can brighten it. 

How could my husband be gone 4 months? How can he be really never coming home?

Wait For It

Welcome to the shit show, or as I like to call it my life.

Although it may not be the most eloquent way to word it, it is the nicest way to put it. My name is Katie Coelho, I am 33 years old with two children Braedyn (age 2 1/2) and Penelope (she’s 1). My husband Jonathan passed away on April 22nd, 2020, due to complications from Covid-19, he was a healthy, young, amazing 32 year old man and he was stolen from us in the worse way possible. How did we end up here? That’s a question I ask myself every single day, multiple times a day. None of this makes sense, from start to finish, it just doesn’t add up. I look back over the last 10 years, and more importantly the last 5 months and none of it seems real.

Our lives have always been filled with complications, trauma and overcoming more obstacles that a young family should ever have to face. But we did it, and we did it together. So, when Jonathan was exposed to Covid we were going to take this on and get through it the way we always had. But life had other plans for us. The kids also tested positive; I was never tested because at the time we were all infected there weren’t enough tests (which is a whole other thing I eventually need to rant about). However, it is safe to assume I did have it as well. Our fear was for Braedyn, he was born with several very serious neurological conditions which make him very high risk for any illness, especially Covid. But thankfully, he was completely Asymptomatic, as were Penelope and I (for the most part). Jonathan however, he became very sick very fast. Out of the abundance of caution his primary care doctor sent him to the ER for nebulizer treatments, and I will forever regret letting him go. To this day I believe him going to the hospital was the biggest mistake of our lives and Jonathan never came home.

I will save the details about Jonathan’s hospital stay for another time, my anger towards that whole situation is one that I am still processing. I do believe what happened there needs to be shared, but I want to do so with a clear and sound mind. And right now, my feelings towards the hospital (not any of Jonathan’s nurses, for the most part they were absolutely amazing) would not allow to share our experience properly.

I’m sure most people who are reading my blog are familiar with “the note”. My husband’s last words to my children and I have been shared with millions of people all over the world. It’s absolutely insane.  Jonathan and I are extremely private people. We loved our little Coelho Island and thrived in it. The morning Jonathan passed away and I discovered that note (and then shared it) was surreal. I wish I could say it was a blur but it’s not. I could tell you moment by moment what was going on, what people were wearing, what they were doing, what was said. I don’t remember honestly what compelled me to share part of his note, I have no clue. Maybe it was utter disbelief, shock, sleep deprivation? I have no idea, but sharing this note

“I love you guys with all my heart and you’ve given me the best life I could have ever asked for. I am so lucky it makes me so proud to be your husband and the father to Braedyn and penny.

Katie you are the most beautiful caring nurturing person I’ve ever met…..you are truly one of a kind…..make sure you live life with happiness and that same passion that made me fall in love with you. Seeing you be the best mom to the kids is the greatest thing I’ve ever experienced.

Let Braedyn now he’s my best bud and I’m proud to be his father and for all the amazing things he’s done and continues to do.

Let Penelope know she’s a princess and can have whatever she wants in life.

I’m so lucky….”

Would catapult our family into a public place. That post I made the morning Jonathan passed away now has over 500,000 views and has been shared over 1 thousand times. It’s mind blowing. Within hours of sharing Jonathan’s passing, it spread like wildfire. I had Buzzfeed news contact me, and I agreed to do an interview with them maybe 5 or 6 hours after I left my husband at the hospital. I don’t know why I felt ok with doing the interview, normally I would be hesitant but I wanted to share our story, I wanted people to know Jonathan. I had seen the pieces they had done on other victims of Covid, and I thought it would be a good thing to put a face to this pandemic. I didn’t realize how big of a face we were going to be. I basically word vomited my way through that interview, I was so delirious with grief I really had no idea what I said until I read it. The reporter was extremely kind, and patient which for a wife who lost her husband 7 hours earlier was greatly appreciated. We spoke for about an hour or so, and the reporter said she would send me the article the next morning right before it was published.

When I read it the next day, it brought tears to my eyes. It did a great job of showing our love, but most importantly highlighting what a fantastic human being Jonathan is. I was proud of it, and thought it was a worthy memorial piece, I was also excited for it to be on BuzzFeed since I’ve been an avid reader for years. The article was posted at 4:52 pm on April 23rd, and by 6 pm that night our lives were turned upside down.

We went from the quiet, private Coelho family to Anderson Cooper, Ellen DeGeneres show (side note, I totally understand why people are saying what they are about her show. It wasn’t the best experience), people magazine, Inside Edition (oh do I have stories about that) and Gayle King all within 48 hours. And that’s just the superficial side of this messed up nightmare journey we are in.

I keep trying to figure out what I am doing here, how did I end up here but I never come up with answers. The only thing that I can kind of clearly see is that I have been given a platform where I can put a face to this pandemic, to grief, to parenting and to raising a medically complex child. I am not sure if anyone will want to hear what I have to say, but that doesn’t mean I am going to be silent. I am not interested in the attention for myself, but I want to tell Jonathan’s story, Braedyn’s story, Penny’s story , our families story. So that is exactly what I am going to do.

So, like I said in the beginning of this post.

Welcome to the Shit Show. I am so thankful you are here.

-Katie