Unfortunately my dear wife Lijda passed away on October 15th. I have had the honor and pleasure of being her husband for 21 years and her best friend for 24 years. Before I tell you something about us, first the reason for my request for help. Due to circumstances we have always had to live on a budget, but we had at least taken out a good funeral insurance. Or so we thought. During the planning of the funeral, the funeral company assured me every time that I did not have to worry and that everything I wanted for her was possible. I made it clear several times that the grave monument was important, so that money had to be left over for it. Now I have received the bill for the funeral (without a monument, that always comes later) and miraculously it is EXACTLY the amount to be paid by the insurance. Ergo ... I have to pay for the monument out of my own pocket. I myself am in the Wajong, I am 100% deemed disabled for work. I'm running out of savings, glad I have a dime to spend most days. I do have something to spend, but after "shopping" for a monument, the fact is that I am a good 2000 euros short. So that's what I'm looking for. Now something about Lijda and me. It clarifies a little more about how and why.
I met Lijda in 1996 in Utrecht, where we both come from, she was a client in the night shelter where I worked night shifts. We both walked "on the street" for a good 15 years, but it was the N.O.I.Z in Utrecht where we met at the end of those years .. I absolutely didn't like her. She was loud, present, busy. All the things that I wasn't and it also disrupted my quiet night shifts In retrospect I think I just told myself I didn't like her. It is because I heard her talking to a friend one evening, this friend had received a love letter and Lijda sighed that she would like it too. I don't know what got into me, but I made a decision that would change my life, I wrote a very honest "love letter" that night.
I mentioned in that letter that I had heard it and that she should therefore not take the letter too seriously, but here it was. Then I went to work with every cliche you can think of. That her eyes were as blue as the deepest sea (they're brown), That she had beautiful blonde hair (she's a brunette) and things like that. Finally, I wrote that although she knew the reason for the letter, we "of course always had to try". To my surprise, she agreed. A few months later I proposed to her and on June 11, 1999, we got married in what I hope was the best day of her life.
A little guy doesn't let his girlfriend out on the street so pretty soon after we "started dating" we knocked on the door of the different institutions to get off the street. After a few years, we moved to our own apartment through various projects and temporary housing options and everything was fine. But then Lijda suddenly had trouble walking. It just got tiring at first, then painful too, and this kept getting worse. Of course there were many visits to the doctor and hospital, but what bothered her? Jiist may know. MRI, CAT, DNA, everything was pulled out of the closet but the only "diagnosis" one could make is that she was "bothered by something". What was clear at one point was that Lijda had to walk in a wheelchair from now on.
In the years that followed, we managed to get by as best we could. For me it was of course giving informal care, home help came into play and neighborhood care kept an eye on things. Until about 4 years ago this went pretty well until Lijda contracted a urinary tract infection and was taken to the hospital with a wailing siren. I don't know if this triggered anything in her system, but it was the end of living at home. Lijda went to a nursing home at the LdH. It's the toughest decision we've ever had to make.
Things went quite well in the nursing home. She made friends, participated in activities, and even went on a holiday week. I came by a few times a week for a few hours and although she naturally preferred to go home again, she was quite there. And then the pandemic started. spoiler, no, Lijda did not die of covid 19. What the pandemic did was prevent me from coming for a few months. We spoke by phone and skype, but that is different. I had the idea that Lijda was declining, but it was not possible to say with certainty through those channels.
After almost 4 months it was finally allowed again and I went there again. But Lijda was tired quickly and after an hour she wanted to go to bed. The next time she was already in bed. The third time I was told that Lijda had a fever. She was put on antibiotics but the fever remained. This took a while until one evening Lijda rose to 40.2. She had to go to hospital right away.
Lijda was brought to the Meander in Amersfoort (the nursing home is in Baarn) and treatment was started to bring down the fever. The fever did not go down. Scans, blood tests etc etc ... no diagnosis. People could begin to rule out things. After a little more than a day it was decided that Lijda had to go to the IC and put him in an artificial coma. She was intubated and put on medication, anything to get the fever out. Fortunately, after three days the fever went down and it was planned to wake her up. Lijda did not wake up. Again investigations were done and she was given time to wake up on her own. The sleep medication had been discontinued altogether so that should happen eventually.
Meanwhile, the neurologist had a suspect. Neuroleptic Malignam Syndrome. A rare side effect of anti-psychotic drugs. However, this cannot be tested. Medication was administered and we are waiting. And finally, on October 12, she woke up. A little bit, and in short periods, but my mommy was back. The doctors decided that October 14 would be the day she could go off the ventilator.
October 14 came and the time had come. The ventilator came off. After less than an hour, the ward doctor came to me and said he was satisfied. She was breathing a bit difficult, but she was completely independent. I was allowed to go to her. She was groggy but awake and I found she knew I was there. I talked to her and held her hand. I spoke of progress and a road to recovery. I kissed her goodbye saying "see you tomorrow"
I got a call at half past midnight. I had to go to hospital immediately. Luckily a taxi was arranged for me and an hour later I arrived, afraid that I was already too late. I was not late. Far from it. My sweet girl fought, she resisted death a whopping eight times. Every time the doctors thought it had happened, she came back. She tinkled for a little over 18 hours. Unfortunately she had to give up that night at half past nine.
I am so incredibly proud of her, so honored to be her husband. Not a day goes by without me missing her. We had a beautiful wedding, she had a beautiful funeral. And it was a beautiful funeral. But due to the unfair actions of the funeral director, I now do not have a (beautiful) monument. Hence my plea.
- Jennifer Hohnadel
- Marcena Jarrell
- Philip Fontana
- Cynthia Faraday
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