Stories: Who We Have Lost

I Am My Father's Daughter

Story aboutMichael Polonus

My Dad died on April 7, 2020.

He entered the world with nothing and left with nothing but he left a lot behind in this world.

He was raised in Elmhurst, IL with his brother Dick. They were 2nd generation Americans with their family roots in Lithuania. His grandparents came to America during the potato famine and entered through Ellis Island, settling in the Chicago area.

My Dad did not have much when he was a child but he worked hard and paid his way through college -Bowling Green University – where he met his future wife, Linda Druley.

My father was a man of principles.

#1 – Work hard.

#2 – Never lie, cheat or steal. He was the most honest man you will ever know.

#3 – He was generous; boy was he ever.

He loved meeting people; he would talk to any one with genuine warmth and compassion.

He didn’t care who you were, if you were hard working and honest he would give you a chance and the shirt off his back.

He believed in education and paid for his children’s education; allowing us the gift of graduating debt free. He wanted us to be successful and pushed us to set a high standard of excellence.

He said that if you had an education and worked hard, that’s all you needed in life to succeed.

He made his children responsible from a very young age; chores and tasks were part of everyday life. We have that work ethic still today. My brother and I are two of the most responsible people I know. It’s funny how, even though my brother and I are very different people, we are also very much the same because of the values that my father instilled in us.

He believed in quality – buy quality and take care of things – they should last forever. Any person that purchased a used car from my Dad got the best used car money could buy; immaculate, all services performed, records kept – they were like new.

He loved his grandchildren and wanted to share his success with them. He supported their education and traveled with each of them as they came of age.

He allowed me the opportunity to travel the world with him also. We had so much fun on our trips. That is such a special gift that he gave to me.

I have his hair, I have his teeth, I have his eyes and as I age, I look in the mirror and I have his face. I have so many qualities of his that I have both loved and cursed, but now that he is gone, they are all beautifully special to me.

I am my father’s daughter and for that I will forever be proud and humbled.

My Husband of 57 Years

Story aboutKenneth Wright (1 of 2)

My husband and I were married when I was 17 and a senior in high school and he was 19. We both worked and made a home together and after we married for 7 years had our 1st son Timothy. Our 2nd son was born 22 months later Todd! My husband worked for CSX Railroad for 40 years and retired at the age of 60. He loved working at the railroad and took pride in it. He loved playing baseball, loved bowling and collecting baseball cards. He also, coached our son’s little league teams.

We always had nice homes to live in and the railroad transferred him to Jacksonville Florida for 16 years. He had a lot of friends that he worked with and also went to school with! We attended Atwood Wesleyan church since he was born. My husband loved the lord and was a gentle soul.

A few years ago he was diagnosed with heart failure. Last year 2020 he was in and out of the hospital. In May I had to take him to the hospital; he was having swelling in his feet and ankles. The nurses came from the tent outside the hospital and put a mask on him and took him from our car into the tents outside the hospital. I didn’t know whether I was supposed to stay there or what! They called me a couple of hours later to let me know that they were admitting him. I was not allowed in.

A week later he was sent to a rehab (nursing home) which I was not allowed in. I did get to see him a couple of times through a window. He was alone. After 3 weeks there he came home, very weak. In June he had to go back to the hospital. He was tested for COVID and tested negative. After a couple of weeks alone in the hospital he came home. In July I had to get an ambulance to take him back to the hospital. Four days later he tested positive for COVID. Again I wasn’t allowed to see him. He was in quarantine.

My Husband

Story aboutKenneth Wright (2 of 2)

After a week he was sent to a nursing home to their COVID unit in their basement! I am devastated. He was so upset he was not being taken care of and he was so alone and in the basement. On Friday I tried to call him and the nurses station 11 times no answer. At 11 :00 that night someone answered and told me he was fine!!

The very next morning at 10:00 am Audubon Hospital Emergency room called to ask me if I knew that my husband was there in the emergency room. I did not know. No one had called me to let me know that he was on the way to the hospital. The emergency room doctor said that he was barely breathing and that they needed permission to put him on a ventilator and to insert a pick line. Of course I gave my permission! He was then taken to the intensive care unit. I was not allowed in for 4 days! When they took him off of the ventilator I had to decide on a DNR. These decisions were the hardest I have ever made.

Finally he was put in a regular room. I got to see him a couple of days then suddenly he was in quarantine again. I was shocked. I had just seen him the day before. They made me stand in his doorway. He didn’t know it was me. I left crying, hurt, and confused! The very next day I was allowed to spend the day with him. Our sons had not been allowed to s even him. I Facetimed with our oldest and they were able to say I love you. Then Kenny went to sleep while I sat there with him. I left and went home. The very next morning the nurse called and said that his breathing was getting shallow so our sons and I rushed up to the hospital. When I walked in they took my temperature and called the nurses station and it was the wrong floor. I waited and then when they were calling the correct floor no one answered. I left and told them I was going up there and they called security on me. I got on the elevator 2 security guys came after me. I told them my husband was dying and they said because of protocol I couldn’t go up there. I insisted and they rode the elevator with me. I got off the elevator and a nurse was waiting for me and I asked her to please let our sons come up to be with their father. They did send for our boys. By the time we got to his room he had just taken his last breath before we could be with him and hold his hand . . . he died without family and he loved his family. I am so heart broken. Ten months ago this morning. COVID 19.

You Know It, Dad

Story aboutKenneth Wright

We miss you daily. We wish we could have spent more time with you those last six weeks. Hopefully you are playing cards with Grandma and Grandpa. You know it, Dad.

Her Name was June. She was My Grandmother.

Story aboutJune Hill (1 of 2)

When you lose someone, you lose them in a thousand different ways.

You lose her birthday cards that come to your mailbox; you lose her voice on the other end of the receiver. You miss the image of her, sitting in the lift chair, feet kicked up. You miss the taste of her creamed potatoes, the liver spots on her hands, the way her fingers crooked at their ends. You miss her black hair with silver streaks, the pitch in her voice when she laughs. You lose making plans to see her. You lose new pictures and new memories as if she’s vanished from the frame.

About a week ago, I talked to my grandmother on the phone. She had a dry cough and had been to an urgent care where they diagnosed her with bronchitis. She said she took cough medicine twice a day, and she was surprised that the syrup tasted good. Her voice sounded strong even though she said her legs had been weak. She couldn’t get up to “wet” because her legs would fall out from under her. She’d managed to get a wastebasket, pulling it to her chair. When she felt like she was about to explode, she’d hover over it. She said she managed not to make a mess.

I don’t remember everything we talked about, it seems so trivial now, but I know we talked about Gov. Andy Beshear and his updates, showing true leadership. She mentioned that she’d put a card in the mail for my youngest, who turns 7 on April 10. We said, “I love you,” keeping the conversation brief, so she didn’t cough.

A few days later, my father called to say that she had been taken by ambulance to Baptist Health Madisonville because she was so weak. Aunt Beverly had to sit outside in the parking lot because no visitors were allowed. Aunt Bev sat there, not knowing what to do other than call around, updating family, and calling the hospital for updates.

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