How family and friends helped me through the pandemic

Jon Ellis has never been afraid of death. And he still doesn’t. But living through pain is becoming more and more difficult.

Pancreatic cancer, which he was diagnosed with not long after the pandemic hit, and chemotherapy made him a stranger in his own body. As a pilot for 50 years, Mr. Ellis knows how easy life really is. But at least in the sky he was free. Under his 1,500-square-foot home in Maine, 75-year-old Ellis can barely pull himself off the couch.

Mr. Ellis would not have survived, he said, without his wife.

Rita Ellis would take him to chemo appointments, then shepherd him home and make sure he drank his smoothies. “She knows what I need better than I do,” he said.

Mrs Ellis, 72, refused to complain, even when, above all else, Ellis’ daughter fell ill and was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

Ellises had moved to Maine from Memphis about five years earlier, in part to be closer to their children living in the Northeast. Now forced to spend more time together than ever before, the couple talk about what Ellis’ future might look like in real terms: She will have to move, they agree, to a rural area village than of town, if Mr. Ellis were dead.

Mr Ellis said: “I was ready knowing that I would not achieve it for another year. “We’ve had some really heartwarming conversations about our longevity on this planet. In our case, at least, it brought us a lot closer. I am very grateful for that.”

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