December 23, 2019: Eleven Months


Eleven months.
Eleven months of lonely even when I’m not by myself.

This morning before I went to bed, the lyrics that popped into my head:

Lay a whisper on my pillow
Leave the winter on the ground
I wake up lonely, this air of silence
In the bedroom and all around

Touch me now
I close my eyes
And dream away
It must have been love

But it’s over now
It must have been good
But I lost it somehow

It must have been love
But it’s over now
From the moment we touched
Till the time had run out

Make believing
We’re together
That I’m sheltered
By your heart

But in and outside
I turn to water
Like a teardrop
In your palm

And it’s a hard
Winter’s day
I dream away

It must have been love (it must have been love)
But it’s over now (but it’s over now)
It was all that I wanted
Now I’m living without
It must have been love
But it’s over now


A year ago today, I shared (from the hospital, of course):

“Having a belated Yule with Teresa and my parents!
T is enjoying a Dunkin’ jelly donut and a mug of Red Rose tea!”

Yule is more than a day, but given the circumstances…

How quickly after this would eating real food become impossible. Because of the tumor that no one would touch, even at a much smaller size, because “chemo will work”.

Against a cancer known to be chemo resistant.
Against a cancer of which it is stated in nearly everything you can read: surgery is the gold standard treatment.


I’ve heard stories that one of the toughest groups of people for widows or families to work with post death is DCM. The collection agency for the deceased.

Guess who has, hands down, been the BEST? DCM.

They’ve been patient, kind, sympathetic, and empathetic.

The main woman I’m working with calls to update what she looks into (the specialty hospital billed Anthem of VA over and over, for example). T only had BCBS of TN. No Anthem (even though they’re often one and the same). Someone in Virginia in Anthem had the same policy number. So they kept telling us the insurance hadn’t paid. In late 2018. When we’d met the 5K deductible in January or February (2018). And on and on.

They’ve most recently initiated a malpractice claim against the provider AND the facility (doctors and nurses) for me, for improper care that lead to Ts death. Excluding her oncologist (Dr. Tamara Musgrave) and her cardiologist (Dr. Eduardo Fernandez), who were not allowed to be part of her team. (Officially I would not include her PCP either, which I mentioned to them just to be safe, but our FNP isn’t, to my knowledge, officially affiliated with the hospital, unlike Musgrave and Fernandez.)

Read that again: Her. Oncologist. Was. Not. Allowed. To. Be. Part. Of. Her. Team.


I recently reread a letter which says she’d received….something like appropriate care…..for pain management. That’s all they were ever treating her for? No matter how much she said, “help me not die”…..?

I’m not looking to sue for malpractice. I don’t have the physical or emotional energy. Or the money. And individuals rarely win against the mighty hospital systems… But I am looking to not have to pay anything else to the people who essentially killed my wife. And maybe get some of the thousands I have paid refunded.

A collection agency, a group collectively known as people who call and harass you for money no matter what, is trying to help me not have to pay, or not as much.


In the meantime, I’ve been fighting BCBSTN. Well, billing and related more specifically. Late January 22nd, I paid the February COBRA policy. The next afternoon I called to cancel it.

In September, they refunded me. For February and the final week of January. But….it’s issued to the estate, not me. And because it’s over $500, a copy of the will saying I’m the executor, and that I got everything, is no good. I have to show the will was probated, which it wasn’t. The Washington Co Court House will not answer any questions about wills. Instead they direct you to a lengthy website to answer all your questions, and good luck understanding it, especially when you’re brand new to bring widowed. Or months later when someone asked if I had to do that. No one told us when we had the wills written. I had no idea.

The upshot was if you’re poor and the estimated value of the “estate” further states you’re poor (forget the amount), you don’t have to have it probated. (This varies by state.)

It could cost me up to three times of that check to go through the court, not to mention I’d have to go to the one in Abingdon, which is a 4-hour round trip, not counting actual court time.

The insurance also is refusing to reissue the money as two separate checks, one for February, one for the last week of January, which would make each check under $500, and thus issuable to me WITHOUT a probated will.

The bank can’t deposit it as written. No, I can’t make a bank account and call it The Estate of…. because I’d have to have a tax ID number for it. From the court process.

If I’d waited less than twelve hours to pay February, I wouldn’t have.
Stumped at what to do now.

It’s all a lot of crap.

I still have to finish writing her obituary, so that I can release it when it has been a year. But it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write. And having to do it feels like crap too. But even before she got sick, and again after, I promised her I’d write one as close to the kind of obituary she enjoyed reading: the funny kind where you really get to know the person, and wish you really had.


This is the first post in awhile that I didn’t write the night before, but the reason is a lovely one. But I will make that it’s own post later today or tomorrow. (Or a month or so later. I still haven’t written it as of Jan 20, 2020.)

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