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.