“Mke and I married on June 13, 2020. He passed away from COVID on December 21. It is hard to believe he is gone. I took him to the hospital on November 20. He didn’t want to go. If I had known he was going to die, I would have let him stay home and die peacefully in the comfort of his own home, like he wanted to.
I got COVID November 7, and he got it November 9. Mine didn’t affect my lungs, but I felt like I was dying. I went to the hospital for IV fluid because I couldn’t keep anything down. Mike was starting to feel the effects of COVID, but he took good care of me. He was worried about me losing weight. He had my food, pills and everything there when I needed it.
Mike’s started with a headache, but he didn’t want to get tested. He didn’t have the energy to wait on customers, but he didn’t want to close up the shop, so he put on his mask and kept going. He worked half a day on Monday, November 9, and he never went back. The fever started later that afternoon.
He had good days and bad days. Nights were worse because that is when the high fever hit. But he would have spurts of energy. On November 16, he pulled a tractor out of the mud and said he was on the road to recovery. He cooked chicken and fresh vegetables in the Crockpot that night, but never ate them. He lay on the couch and didn’t get back up until November 20, when I took him to the hospital.
In the hospital, they said his oxygen level was 20 percent. He spent a night on the COVID floor, and the rest of the time he was in the ICU. On day 14, they put him on a ventilator. He was in the hospital for a month and one day. I got to look at him from the glass window twice. We could video chat when the hospital staff had time. It was hard not having contact with him. We were newlyweds and had been together ever since we started dating. He was never going to call or message me again. I was lonely, depressed and angry about the virus.
Mike had no health problems before COVID. He didn’t want to die, but I think he knew he wasn’t going to beat it. That was hard for him because he was such a competitive guy. But he lost the battle four minutes after they took him off the ventilator. They called us in when he was ready to pass.
He bought the TV shop in 1994 and renamed it Willard TV. He loved that shop and helping his customers. He did free labor for people or gave away what he wouldn’t use. Sometimes he didn’t charge for house calls. He never took a vacation because he was scared he would miss helping a customer or someone who needed him. He put others before himself.
We had both been through divorces and he helped me through a hard time. Our first date was a steak dinner at Longhorns and we had been together ever since. I didn’t want to be married again, but he was so good to my kids and me. I fell in love with him. Six months being married to him wasn’t long enough. I wish I could relive the time I had with him. We were counting on years and years. He was the sweetest man I have ever met and he showed me the meaning of love. He rescued me and my children.
On what turned out to be his last day in the shop, he put a sign on the door that said ‘Went Home Sick.’ A little over the month later, he went home to be with the Lord. I can’t take the sign down.
I miss him. But at least I got to be there when he died, holding his hand.”