Why COVID-19 is the last thing on my mind

Photos of Ellen Tailor and her dad throughout the years

Life has stopped yet continued to move on all at the same time.

This isn’t a story about how I’m living my best life, enjoying quarantine and getting a ton of stuff done. You have no idea how much I wish I was bored. Instead, this is a post to remind you that while a lot of the world is on hold, life is still happening despite a worldwide pandemic.

For months, the universe, signs, or God (which is who I credit this all to) had been giving me every indication that I needed a shift in my life. It was impossible to ignore. I let go of control and let God take me where He needed me. My cup was empty and at the beginning of March I made the trek from Seattle back home to Michigan to replenish.

Since I was driving back from (at the time) one of the country’s COVID-19 hot spots, I decided I’d wait to reunite with all of my friends to ensure I wasn’t sick.

But not even a week after I got back, my dad, who lives alone, wasn’t answering his phone. This was unlike him so I decided to stop by. When he opened the door, the first thing I saw was the right side of his face drooping. My dad was having a stroke.

We quickly got in the car and headed to the ER. My mind was racing. Was this really happening? I was distracted as I drove and realized it when a guy cut me off and flipped us the bird. If only he’d known how his delay was so insignificant compared to what life was about to deal our family.

Once we got to the ER parking lot we were met by a police officer and a nurse in full protective gear. I explained this wasn’t COVID-19 related and they allowed me to drive to the entrance. There, another officer put my dad in a wheelchair and brought him inside. I wasn’t able to see my dad for almost a week after that.

I felt helpless. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t be next to him. I couldn’t be in the same room or even the same floor. The closest I got was the hospital lobby. Doctors had asked if I’d bring his glasses. I also brought a picture of us he’d had on his nightstand. I never wanted him to question why I wasn’t there. And luckily, he didn’t.

The family photo my dad was able to have in the hospital

Dad remembers everything up until he had the stroke. He understood he wasn’t allowed visitors because of COVID-19. What he didn’t know was what happened to him.

The biggest setback my father has remains with his cognition. Physically he’ll be ok. But mentally I wonder if he’ll ever be able to fully recover and if he does, it’s going to take months if not longer.

I’ve taken on a new job title. Caregiver.

There was no doubt I was going to take care of my dad. Not only because there was no one else to do it (he’s single and my sister still has her job in Seattle) but because that’s what our family does. Despite my cup being empty, I was going to lean on Him to give me strength.

I’d had a vulnerable conversation with one of my nearest and dearest. A friend whose Faith has brought him through so many highs and lows. And during our conversation, he reminded me a couple of things. 1) That while things that are happening might not be our fault, they are our problem. And 2) that sometimes you have to be selfless in order to be selfish. There will come a time where I can be selfish but now wasn’t it.

As I hung up the phone, I got out of the car to pick up my dad from the rehab facility. In the windows, patients had put up signs of encouragement for the medical staff.

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.

No one, absolutely no one, will convince me that this wasn’t a literal sign from God and confirmation that He had listened to our conversation.

Dad’s been home for exactly one week. We’re hoping he’ll be able to regain his ability to live the independent life he had before but I’m cautiously optimistic. What’s the saying? Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

So what does that mean for me and my future? Who knows. Everything is on hold. As is the rest of the world. In the meantime, we’re going to keep taking it day-by-day here. And while I don’t wish a pandemic or COVID-19 on anyone, I can appreciate that at least the world is also pausing like I am. We’re forced to reevaluate and reassess. To test ourselves, our patience, our drive, tenacity and Faith.

So forgive me for being MIA. Life happened. And for the first time in months, I can admit, 100%, that I have no control and that I am not worried about how it’ll all turn out because, like my dad always says, “Oλα θα πάνε καλά.” Everything will be ok.

31 comments

  1. Prayers to you and your dad in this difficult time! You are most definitely where you need to be, and where God wants you!

  2. Chin up Ellen. Enjoy your time with your dad. Life goes on like you said. It’s time you will never get back.

    1. Oh Ellen… you and your dad are in my prayers my friend. I’m so sorry your dad is having to go through with this. Praise God you’re there and you went to your dad when you did. He always has plans for us, we never know until things like this happen. You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be now. Sending you lots of hugs and love.

  3. Prayers to you and your family. That is such a scary thing to go thru. We have gone thru it a few times with my mom. She has had 4 strokes, 2 pretty scary ones and two minor ones. Best wishes for a speedy recovery. Hugs and you are truly an angel and are missed dearly.

  4. Oh Ellen! You and your family are heavy on my heart. You are where He wants you to be. Being with Papa Pete is where you are meant to be. Sending you happy thoughts, lots of patience and strength and many prayers. I am glad he is recovering with you by his side.❤

  5. Keep the faith. I have been through a lot of the same over the last two years with my dad. Take the little improvements and hold onto those. Also be realistic that the cognitive function may not come back fully and make adjustments to the new norm. It is a very scary and exhausting journey but you are so much stronger than you have ever known. Take care.

  6. Ellen, sounds like life brought you where you needed to be. Take care of your yourself while you take care of your father. Wish you and your family well.

  7. Been thru this! When my mom has her stroke, outside Chicago, she called me in Seattle instead of 911.
    Praying for your dad and your family!
    lotsa love

  8. Ellen, you are so right. God puts us where we need to be sometimes and, you had to go through some things to get you there but, you’re where he was leading you.
    Know that I’m thinking of you…praying for the whole family.
    Please take care of yourself; you’re no good to Pete if you’re not healthy.
    Hugs friend!

    1. We are where we are right now for a reason. What that reason is…You are woman here you roar!…remember he never gives us more than we can handle…prayers and hugs…hang in there…you got this!⚘

  9. Enjoy your time being a caregiver for your Dad you will never regret it! Just remember to also take care of yourself. Positive thoughts coming your way that your Dad will make a full recovery. Take care.

  10. Ellen,
    Prayers for continued strength for you and your dad. We always end up where we’re needed, especially if we pay attention to the signs/signals given.
    Love to you both.

  11. Oh Ellen, I wish you & your family all the best as you work through this. I’ve always admired your strength, and there is no doubt you got that from your dad. Stay strong! Much love from Seattle

  12. Ellen, my darling—my strong, hopeful, brave darling. I am sorry your road trip hit a big u-turn. So glad you are there for your family. I love you, Be well! Cherish every minute! —Dr. Lori

  13. Ellen I’ve been a fan since you first came to the PNW. I am also a nurse and know for certain your dad will have a better outcome because of your love and care. I lost my mom almost 2 years ago and caring for her was my greatest honor thus far in my life. I’m sending you love and strength and will keep you and your dad in my prayers. Much love ❤️

  14. You are a good daughter. Your father is so blessed to have such a wonderful person like you to care and love him. Thank you for your boldness in sharing life as it is for you, I always relate to your stories. Please don’t go anywhere we are blessed to have you in our town!

  15. I’m praying for your family Ellen. As much as I miss seeing your smiling face I am glad you have found peace in such a stressful unknowing time. God can truly provide miracles when we open our ears and relinquish control to his will and his path for us. I wish your dad all the best in his recover and pray for strength to cloak your family.

  16. Ellen, thank-you for sharing your heart! I was just thinking about you today and how I hadn’t heard anything from you in some time. We lost my Mother-in-Law a week ago tomorrow due to heart failure but because of Covid-19 we were very limited in seeing her both in the hospital and then in the life care center where she spent the last month. Tomorrow is her graveside service, we can’t have a funeral or a celebration of life because of the restrictions that have been put in place because of the virus. We are having to make the decision of which 10 of the 25 family members will be able to be with her in as we lay her to rest. Your heart spoke to me tonight and like you, I know that our GOD is a mighty GOD and everything will work out in his time. God Bless you as you navigate the new life he has set before you.

  17. I’m taking care of both my mom and my dad for the last two years. I call them my toddler (mom) and my teenager (my dad) It’s the hardest job ever but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’m glad your dad is ok and your dad is right everything will be ok!

  18. Ellen I’m praying for your dad. If you learned your fighting spirit from your dad, then I know he’s got this. Love hugs and healing thoughts.

  19. God bless you you Ellen. I will be praying for your dad for a full recovery. Thank God you were there that day to help your dad. What a frightening experience. I can’t imagine what you went through. May Gods peace and strength be with you now. You are stronger than you know. BIG HUG!

  20. We are where we are right now for a reason. What that reason is…You are woman here you roar!…remember he never gives us more than we can handle…prayers and hugs…hang in there…you got this!⚘

  21. This gave me goosebumps!! I’m so glad you listened & God put you right where you’re meant to be. I’ll be praying for you all.

  22. You are one of the strongest person I have come to know. My prayers are with you and I am confident you will be alright. Everything happens for a reason, yours is still being revealed. You are a winner.

  23. Praying for your father, you and your family. Long time fan of yours and I have always been able to tell how special your father is to you. I know the feeling, my mom is my best friend. I hope he continues to gain his strength. I very much believe in signs and wondered where your new journey was taking you, God definitely got you to your father. Sending love from Kirkland, WA. ❤️

  24. Oh Ellen, I had no idea about your dad. Praying for his health and continued healing. You and I are brought up the same…you drop everything to take care of your family. Be strong and be the amazing, caring daughter that you are. I am sure that your dad appreciates you every single day! Take care of yourself my friend!

  25. You and your dad are in my prayers. God works in mysterious ways. He put you in the right place at the right time and has given you the perfect time to be with your dad. Your in my thoughts and prayers. Be safe and stay strong.