Dear Governor Haslam,
Do you know Michelle Farden? If you don’t you should.
Her daughter, Monika, died…. from a broken toe. In the state of Tennessee in the year 2014 a decent human being… her mother described her as a good girl… died from the complications of a broken toe. She had no insurance and didn’t want to make a bill she couldn’t pay. How many other people have died from a bill they couldn’t pay? Insanity doesn’t begin to describe it. To allow anyone to be in such a position is a sin. A shameful, damming sin.
I am in the the gap. I have some medical issues but I am not dying. But neither was Monika.
No one ever heard her talk about her death. No one knows what her fear was like at the end. I wonder what she might have said to you. I wonder what she would say now. We will never know.
What if everyone in the gap wrote you? What if all the people whose death you thought unimportant told you why their life was important? What if everyone simply said Governor Haslam I am too important for you not to know? What if???
I know what I would say. Here is my letter :
Governor Haslam –
If you are reading this letter I am gone.
I have always been proud of being a Tennessean. I am so sorry for what it has become. So many decent people have been left to suffer, even to die. I don’t know how it ended for me. My hunch is that whatever the circumstances if I had access to health care past an ER it probably didn’t have to happen.
I write though not about my death but about my life. It is far more important to me you know about that than anything.
I have always tried to be a good person but sometimes, particularly in the last year or so, I have come up short. The most important thing about me is I loved my wife. We have been married 34 years. I don’t remember not loving her. I think you would like her if you ever met.
You have heard our story before. We split up about 3 years
ago to keep her insurance. Without expansion we had no choice. We lived 25 miles apart and for the first time we had days we didn’t see each other.
I’ll be honest. It broke my heart. I thought I knew about loss but I had no idea. It was a death in ways I can never explain. It was a numbness to the soul.
I was often scared, often overwhelmed, often desperate. At times I would have given anything to feel better. At times I just wanted not to feel. And at times I didn’t.
I would like to brag that I have been the best of husbands in all of this but that would be a lie. At times I have been self absorbed and so much less than what Linda deserved or needed. Sometimes my best hasn’t been so really good. Sometimes all you can do is to try to make this the best day, the best hour, the best minutes you can make it and be okay with it.
I have tried to be brave but fear has too often won. I have tried to be wise but have done so many stupid things. I have tried to be hopeful but hope has seemed a cruel deceit on more than one occasion.
Life has gotten hard for Linda. Seizures are much worse and I am often not there to catch her. I told her once I would love her forever and ever and 4 more days. Whatever my circumstances now the fourth day has still not come.
I have never been important in the ways important people are important but hope in the end I mattered. Governor Haslam I really hope you know that 280,000 lives matter. Our story is not as important and much easier than many.
There are many more things to say but perhaps enough has been said. Governor make every life matter.
Governor I wish you had known Monika. I wish you knew thousands more. It is easy to talk about how people mattered when they are gone. They matter now. Governor spread the word.
All lives matter. NOW!!!
Until next time.