2020: A Challenging Year

Grieving, Illness, Uncertainty, Trying to Move Forward…

(Photo credit: The Free Photo Library)

This has been a most challenging year. For everyone. There is the constant noise and drama coming from the Trump administration, the frightening divide, hatred and intolerance in our country, the fear of the unknown with a pandemic that is out of control with protocols that are challenging for even the strongest among us, and the most consequential election of our lifetime.

For me personally, I feel as if I am being tested, over and over again. Still in deep mourning over the death of my beloved husband and soulmate, I think that I was numb and in stunned disbelief for the first nine or ten months. It just seemed surreal. Now I am facing the year anniversary of his death, and I am still in a deep depression, a feeling of purposelessness has permeated my world.

The beginning of 2020 started out in utter disbelief that I was a widow at 59, and my beloved soulmate and best friend was physically gone from this realm. Trying to grieve, the novel Coronavirus would make the situation even more challenging. Having to isolate, wear masks, stay home, wash hands and disinfect everything has become the new normal.

If there is any grace to David’s timing and dying when he did, it is that he did not have to try to survive in this new way of trying to get through life. He would have hated it, unable to see patients and do his work to his to his full potential. And, most importantly he did not die have to die alone, but in my loving arms. He always had impeccable timing.

Our final moments together
(Photo credit: Laurie Braun)

Happy birthday to me…🎈

The day before my 60th birthday I was caring for a big (100 lb) loving dog. We were walking in the park when he pulled me onto black ice, causing my feet and legs to go straight up in the air, and I hit the pavement hard on my thoracic spine and head. On a scale of 1-10 it was a spectacular 10. However I ended up spending my entire birthday in the Emergency Department, being evaluated for a Traumatic Brain Injury; muscle & ligament damage and bruises. Nothing says “party” like being in the E.D. After that debacle I figured that things had to get better. How wrong I was.

Next came the horrific murder of George Floyd by police officers, which was finally the tipping point for generations of frustration at oppression, blatant racism and institutional bias. It is everywhere and it is past time to recognize it and deal with it through massive change and reform. The marches and protests were powerful and moving. The riots were frightening, mostly perpetrated by outside groups. The Black Lives Matter group mobilized across the country and indeed the world, to awaken a sleeping nation on issues of social injustice.

One of many demonstrations around the country and the world. (Photo credit: The Free Photo Library)

For me personally the year went from bad to worse. While in the midst of trying to learn how to cope with out David, the novel Coronavirus appeared and proceeded to ravage the world, and especially the United States due to gross incompetence by our so-called leaders. Adapting to the new protocols and managing the isolation of being quarantined alone at home proved very demanding. On top of it all I had to prepare to move, to leave our beloved apartment and move to a smaller apartment. I was clearly not connected to reality. I was too depressed to organize my move, in fact I couldn’t conceive of how I was going to manage it. I had no idea of the amount of stuff we had accumulated over the years. It was like trying to fit the Sun inside the Earth… I had to spend most of my waking hours taking care of David’s practices and our other affairs. I am deeply grateful to family and friends who made the move happen. Now if I must focus on getting settled into the new apartment, and getting rid of a lot of stuff, a task that is very difficult for me emotionally, at least it has been thus far.

As if things couldn’t get worse, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died and I tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 novel Coronavirus. I had to completely isolate in my apartment for just over 21 days. It is a very debilitating illness, and to this day my energy and breathing are affected. As this pandemic not only continues but worsens, I am more and more grateful that David didn’t have to try to survive this. I miss him terribly every moment, but this would not have been a possible way of life for him.

Our new normal
(Photo credit: The Free Photo Library)

Now, on this November 7th, 2020, the drawn out and stressful presidential election is just over, with the Biden-Harris team reigning victorious. This day also marks the year anniversary of my beloved’s death. A year. It is surreal. Compounding my grief is the fact that just yesterday morning our beloved “Angel” Reva Lear, who introduced David & me and stood witness at our marriage ceremony, left this realm peacefully and with love, but it still breaks an already shattered heart. I loved Reva dearly yet take solace in the knowledge that somewhere in the Universe David has welcomed her and they are both at peace.

Our beloved “Angel” Reva Lear, who introduced us and stood witness at our marriage ceremony, and who recently died🥀. (Photo credit: Laurie Braun)

I realize that I have been wallowing in the past, paralyzed with grief and unable to move forward with my life. Now I must consciously live in the present and plan for my future. I must hold the intention of discovering who I am without his powerful force in my life, and create a life in which I can do good work and contribute to society. I will never “move on,” but it is imperative that I move forward.

I am grateful for the support and encouragement of dear family and friends. As I inch forward back into the light from the darkness of my grief, I must have the courage and determination to honor David’s life, but still live my own life. I need to find the self-confidence to do my own thing, understanding that I risk falling, but optimistic that I can get back up again. Never have I felt so paralyzed and stuck, but those feelings are juxtaposed a sense of excitement to see who I can become and what I am able to create out of my life. I am hopeful. 🥀

Hopefulness (Photo credit: The Free Photo Library)

Dearest David, half of me is missing, and the other half is missing you. 🥀💔🥀

Trying to Write Again: Reflections on Life, Loss, Uncertainty, and Gratitude

Trying to write again…
[Photo credit: The Free Photo Library]
Trying Again

I just passed the six month mark since my soulmate, my better half, departed this realm.

The anesthesia that is pure shock and stunned disbelief is wearing off , and I am realizing that this is not just a bad dream. This shit is real.

The Philosophical Widow

I’ve been really struggling. Somehow I thought that this would get easier, but the opposite is true. The anesthesia that is pure shock and stunned disbelief is wearing off, and I am realizing that this is not just a bad dream. This shit is real.


David received his Master’s Degree in Bioethics posthumously.
[Photo credit: The Free Photo Library]
Legacy Continued

I am still working to thoughtfully and ethically close down his medical and legal practices. This is a bit above my pay grade. Since I last wrote my beloved David was awarded his Master’s Degree in Bioethics posthumously. He certainly did the work, he just didn’t get a chance to finish his thesis. He deserved this and I am proud of his many accomplishments.

Challenging & Uncertain Times

[Photo collage credit:
Deidre A Kellogg Ketroser]

Times have changed since my last entry, with the SARS CoV-2/CoVid-19 pandemic sweeping across the world. Having to isolate alone during this very raw emotional period is difficult and I have been slowly slipping into that deep dark hole, the “Darkness Visible” that author William Styron describes so well in his book of the same name.

[Photo credit: The Free Photo Library]

Emotionally paralyzed and in a dysfunctional state, I made the conscious choice to try to stop the descent. Grief counseling has been helpful, and I am praying for a Prozac miracle.

Coping With a New Reality

For everyone, trying to cope with this uncertainty that comes with the virus, the massive changes that we are all having to make with no real end date in sight, is creating it’s own problems and taking a toll on our mental health. I know that for me to get through this well I need to discipline myself to create and follow a set routine, which includes self care.

The experience of this pandemic has made me extremely grateful for several gifts:

1. That David didn’t have to try to live through this.

2. If he had to die, he was able to do so in my arms rather than alone in isolation.

I will always be grateful that I had the gift of holding my beloved husband in his final hours.

As usual David, the Universe, or What/Whoever had brilliant timing. Things that don’t make sense at the time become more clear over time. Why did David have to die when he did? Now it makes sense, or at least a blessing. His trying to survive the Coronavirus pandemic and manage with all of the restrictions, unable to work, would have been horrible for him.

[Photo credit: the Free Photo Library]
Everything Happens for a Reason…Or Does It?

At least from a scientific perspective, everything in the Universe is random, but we humans assign meaning to them because we require a sense of order and control. We crave justification and purpose.

There is an over-used saying, “that everything happens for a reason.” Famed Astrophysicist (and one of my idols) Neil DeGrasse Tyson, sees it differently. At least from a scientific perspective, everything in the Universe is random, but we humans assign meaning to them because we require a sense of order and control. We crave justification and purpose.

#gratitude

David was able to make his final exit peacefully as I held him and spoke to him, knowing that he was and will always be cherished and loved. For that I will be forever grateful.

[Photo credit: Deidre A. Kellogg Ketroser]

Unable To Write…

Unable to write…

Writing, which has always been my solace, has become a chore, as I am not motivated. As a result I have just not done it. So much for building followers and succeeding at blogging…

I am not understanding this resistance to writing that I am feeling. Part of it might be that I am very sick physically and have been for over two months, and I am an emotional mess as I go through this very difficult, messy grieving process.

I just don’t have anything meaningful, insightful, or interesting to say. I apologize to anyone who may have decided to follow this blog, only to be left wondering WTH?

Feeling empty…

I will try to get back on track, hopefully sooner rather than later. I am still in stunned disbelief that my beloved husband & soulmate really died, and left me alone to navigate life without him. That wasn’t our plan. I’m not even sure who I am without him, as he was my world.

The pain of living without him is excruciating. I miss him so very much. I am trying to preserve his legacy and continue his work. But right now it feels so hard. My life has been turned upside down and is full of uncertainty. However, David would expect me to persevere. He was my superpower, and I need to tap into that now.

Until next time…

Feeling So Alone…

…But not it is not really the alone part that bothers me, it’s the being without him, without my soulmate and life partner.

I started to feel sorry for myself last night as I sat in a bed in the Emergency Department of the same hospital where my beloved died a little over a month ago.

I was being seen for a bronchial infection and an aspiration, that was causing severe and violent bouts of coughing. After two lung/respiratory treatments, some other medications, lab work and a chest X-ray, I was finally discharged home, six hours after arriving.

Exhausted and medicated, I finally slept better than I have since David was admitted through that very ED, back at the end of October.

I puttered around the apartment today, starting one project but moving on to another before finishing the first, overwhelmed at the amount of work there is to do. And this is just household work, as I took a break from all of the “work” work.

I so want this part of it to be over so that I can just focus on my grief, the immensity of my loss of the person who meant the most to me in my life and who made me feel safe.

Where do I go from here?! What am I supposed to do? I know that I have a lot to do to close out David’s work, it could be a year or two before all is settled. And I can honor him by carrying on with his mission to make the world a more equitable place for all people.

And then, there is his story/our story. So many people have asked me to write about it in a book. His story alone would make for a very long and fascinating book. Our story, picking up when we met, is a beautiful story of deep and unconditional love and of the saving of each other by one another.

We would often lament the fact that we hadn’t met sooner, yet we both acknowledged that we met at the perfect time in our lives. And while we each wished that we could have saved the other from some of the misery of our lives before we met, perhaps we had to go through what we did separately in order to more appreciate our togetherness.

I thought that I had experienced love before, and I suppose that I had, but not like this. Not love of this intensity that grew stronger every day. Not an all-consuming love that I was so in need of that it felt as though David was my oxygen and when I was away from him I could scarcely breathe. We loved being together. All of the time.

We loved this life we had created together, and though there were health challenges for both of us, we just never imagined the end…we did not want to. There were nights when I laid in bed in his arms and I would start silently weeping. He would ask what the matter was, and I would tell him that I was just imagining that this would come to an end, that one of us would die, to which he responded by holding me tighter and telling me he “wasn’t going anywhere.”

He came back from near death so many times that I started to believe that he would never die. He would never leave me. And he wouldn’t. Intentionally. But he had gone through so much with each hospitalization that it took its toll on him. He was very tired at the end, unusual for this guy that got up every day with a sense of eagerness to seize the day. No one else besides me realized how difficult just getting out of bed was for him, not to mention getting his functionality back after waking up nearly blind and paralyzed every morning.

I believed in our Fairy Tale 100%. It took me 52 years to find him, I could not let myself believe that I could lose him. And yet I did…

In a moment everything can change.

Happy Birthday, My Forever Love…

So today, well actually yesterday now, was my late husband’s birthday. I tried to honor him by going to one of his favorite places, Sushi Train. It brought back many memories of dinners there, and the staff was concerned when I came in without him and because they hadn’t seen him for a long time. I tearfully informed them of the tragic news of his passing.

I am sorry that I do not have the energy to write this time. I’ve gotten very sick with a respiratory infection that may be turning into pneumonia, and I’m emotionally drained.

Writing used to be therapeutic and the words flowed easily, but right at this moment I am numb.

I will end this by saying that I miss David more than I thought possible, and I do not like this life without him. It’s not the being alone part that bothers me, it’s the being without him that I can’t stand.

As I try to sleep I will hope that tomorrow I will somehow cope better.

The Ostrich Approach

The more overwhelmed, exhausted, and discouraged I start to feel regarding all there is to do after the death of a loved one, the more I am tempted to use the “Ostrich” Strategy: to bury my head in the sand and hope that it all magically disappears when, or if, I come up for air.

Intellectually I understand that this approach to problem solving is not only ineffectual, but also ridiculous. That said, it tempts me daily.

I’m also finding it more difficult than I thought it would be to write this blog every day. Part of the reason is mental exhaustion, and part of it is having to think of a theme for the day’s entry. Then there is the part of writing a blog that is very lonely – I never know if it is even being read by anyone. If you are following this and have subscribed to updates every time I post on this blog and you are not getting a notification, I think it is because I don’t have a clue what I am doing, and the link to get email notifications is likely “unsupported,” whatever that means. I will reach out to tech support today to get help with this because I have heard from a handful of people who tell me that they are followers and have signed up to receive updates and are not getting them. Imagine how discouraging it is for me when I check my “stats” and I keep seeing: No Followers. No Comments. No Likes. It’s not a confidence builder. If anyone who knows how WordPress works happens to be reading this and you feel like sharing your knowledge with me, please message me. I need the guidance!

Back to my theme for the day: pretending the problems and issues I must deal with don’t exist. It’s tempting to be sure. I am really tired of dealing with this stuff day after day and want some resolution so I can move on and focus on grieving.

I’ve been exhausted, and not sleeping well and so I am getting sick with a respiratory infection. Not cool. Also, I am physically starting to break down and de-compensating neurologically. Among the problems I am experiencing are autonomic body movements that are beyond my control, and my legs buckling when I try to stand on them, sending me tumbling to the ground. Then there is increased difficulty walking, loss of balance and frequent falls. There is an uncomfortable element of déjà vu to the whole thing…

I need to slow down and rest more. So I am trying to make those changes. Yet bedtime is the most difficult time, it is when I miss David the most and I feel so utterly alone. So I have been tending to “avoid” it. For example last night I just kept busy doing things until midnight became 01:00, which then became 02:00, 03:00, and on until it was morning and time to get ready for the day’s tedious work, plugging away at the never ending“To Do” list.

I am really needing a change of pace. I need all of this busy work to be over so that I can just grieve. Grieve and think about my future, and what I am going to do next, how I am going to survive.

I am also finding it difficult to write this blog every day as I don’t have a good grasp of this platform, how best to use it to optimize and support my writing, and how to expose my writing to more people. I don’t even know how to be sure that the various applications are supported. I don’t know enough to pick a different theme and customize it.
So as I am writing this tonight I’m feeling discouraged about this blog and wanting to end it, learn more of what it takes to write a successful blog (this is my first, pathetic attempt), learn about all of the tools at my disposal to create a more aesthetically appealing blog site. If anyone out there who may be seeing this can give me some pointers I would very much appreciate it. I feel like a complete failure when it comes to blogging…

I miss David, I ache with loneliness and long to see him, hear his voice, and hold him. I was hoping that this blog would help me to express my feelings and thus keep his spirit alive through my words, but I feel that it isn’t working.

I will continue to analyze the situation and try to learn what I need to know to make this blog compelling and successful, but I am not sure that I am going to continue it for much longer.

Thoughts, anyone?

🥀

Thanks Giving – The Art of Remaining Grateful, Without Guilt

The holidays are difficult.

Grieving is difficult.

Trying to grieve during the holidays is not only challenging, but nearly unbearable.

Those around you expect you to “snap out of it” and feign a jovial mood.

Holidays are difficult for many people, and it has always been the case for me. There is the pressure of spending money I don’t have, and adhering to a schedule that is exhausting, especially for one suffering with Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis.

And then there is the emotional side. I’ve always been an extremely empathetic and compassionate being, from the time I was born. I find it difficult to celebrate when I am aware of such unconscionable suffering going on everywhere in the world, even on the streets of my own city in America.

There are so many people who have little hope in life, every day is a struggle to survive, and finding the joy in such a situation is often not possible. There are people who are alone, who feel discarded and unloved, even unrecognized as a fellow human being when they have nothing, are living on the streets, and have to to beg to survive, a humiliating act which is often met with scorn and judgement rather than compassion and empathy.

There are children who are in unsafe and unstable situations, who lack that vital sense of safety and security, who may be struggling on so many levels. They are innocent beings who find themselves in these situations which are beyond their control.

There are people struggling with addiction, mental illness, unresolved demons from the past, and having to live with the results/consequences of their circumstances and choices.

It is difficult to see a way out of one’s despair or bad situation when one is mired in the muck. The future seems untenable, and so far away. The challenge is to survive from day to day, sometimes hour to hour, trying to identify problems and find solutions.

As one who struggled all of my life with suicidal ideation, but who ironically had this rather unconscious protective mechanism in me that made life-preserving decisions instead of reactive, destructive ones, I am sensitive to the suffering of others. I found that I needed to find hope in something, and to “try everything” to stay alive before making a decision that I could not take back.

It turned out that in my case I needed to find that one person who loved me when I couldn’t love myself, and who gave me the sense of safety that I had so urgently sought all of my life.

That person was David Ketroser. Though neither of us was interested in relationships – we were both still reeling from having each been abandoned by our former spouses when dealing with serious illness, the same progressive and degenerative disease of Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis – we both knew the moment we were innocently introduced that our hearts had found their rightful homes in one another.

It was an odd feeling. I had never been more sure of anything in my life. Our love progressed very quickly, and soon, with his love and the safety he provided me, I was finally able to do the last of my personal work, the deep trauma work that I couldn’t even access before I met him. I was finally free of my demons and able to embrace love, and life.

I loved him so very deeply that nothing else mattered. Yes, we both had this damn disease to deal with, and we needed at least one of us to not crash while the other was struggling. But it always worked out. I held him up and he did the same for me. There was never a hesitation or consideration of how difficult life could become as our diseases progressed. We were going to face life together. Joyfully. As a team.

I had always been a very independent woman, and yet suddenly I met this person for whom I would do anything and I morphed into him in a way. I had always had a career that was a top priority for me, it was my identity. Yet suddenly all I wanted to do was to enable him fulfill his amazing career. Our lives were focused on managing our diseases to ensure that he could accomplish his work. It took some getting used to, suddenly losing my professional identity. At the same time I felt a sense of contentment, I no longer felt the need to keep striving to be better at my profession. He expressed the same foreign feeling of being totally content with life. We made sure to keep our relationship harmonious at all times. No fighting or yelling. No being disrespectful. It wasn’t hard to do as we both adored one another, and had immense respect for one another.

We each put the other’s happiness first.

Here I am now, empowered by his love and my growth over the years, but feeling lost. He was my sole focus. Now I feel such a huge hole in my soul. Surprisingly to me, I am realizing that I am strong enough to live without him, though I never imagined that I would ever be apart from him. I am slowly finding the will to live, to honor his legacy and memory, and to try to carry on his work as best I can. But I am also starting to see new possibilities for my own legacy. I have a courage that I didn’t have before I met him, the courage to focus on some of my own dreams and professional aspirations, without the paralyzing fear of failure looming over me and stopping me from even trying.

I learned this fearlessness from David. He demonstrated it every day in everything he did. He had the luxury of a strong sense of self and a lack of self doubt. I am learning, practicing the art of believing in oneself.

Perception is an interesting thing. I have accomplished a lot in my life, yet never felt successful. I never felt I was good enough or worthy. David, on the other hand, had this innate sense self, unwavering and unafraid to pursue that which he wanted to do. Nothing stopped him, certainly not a body that was failing him, making daily life so difficult and exhausting. He never used his disease as an excuse, and he never thought that he could not do something. I so admired this confidence and strength of character that he possessed.

I now must find this in myself. Without his guidance and encouragement. Except that I do believe that he lives on in me and is influencing me. When I am feeling stuck or overwhelmed I ask myself, what would David say? What would David do? This doesn’t get any easier, this trying to live without him. In fact I still cannot totally grasp the fact that he is gone. I just refuse to believe it. I wasn’t ready. There was so much more that we wanted to do in life. I have to admit that I would have never been ready to say goodbye to him.

Sometimes at night, as we held each other and had our nightly “gratitude sessions,” where we thanked each other for the love and joy, the gift that we were to one another, I would start to cry quietly. He would ask me what was wrong and I would tell him that I just couldn’t imagine life without him, that he was my oxygen and I could not conceive of life without him, to which he would reply that he would never leave me alone. He would wait until I died before he would go. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that while I appreciated the thought and he had many talents, I was pretty sure that he wasn’t in charge of that department. And yet, I believed him. I couldn’t conceive of his dying…after all, he had beaten the odds so many times before.

It’s not the being alone part that bothers me, it’s the being without him, without his constant physical presence that I cannot imagine, and yet that is my reality now. The man I called my sweet cockroach (so named because he seemingly wouldn’t die and had always beaten the medical odds) actually died in my arms. Why couldn’t I keep him alive? Did I miss something, do something wrong?

Which brings this long “stream of consciousness that should really just be written in a private journal” post back to the theme of how to get through the holidays without the one person for whom I lived. Perhaps that is one of the lessons that I am learning: I need to be living for myself also. That’s not to say that I regret a moment of our life together and my decision to dedicate my life to helping him achieve his life’s work. And maybe this is will start to look more like an opportunity to explore my own aspirations, once the pain of losing him is more bearable. I certainly plan to tell his remarkable story.

As we go through this holiday season, we need to be mindful of the personal struggles of others. I am not just wallowing in my grief if I say that I don’t feel like being festive and merry, or even sociable. It is just that it is unnatural for me at this moment to laugh and celebrate when I am having a very different and difficult personal experience. I need time and space to grieve.

I also have the complicating factor of the empathy gene, and feeling rather guilty for indulging in my grief in this way, when so many others around the world, and I am thinking especially of my brothers and sisters in Syria and other conflict zones, face loss on a daily basis. They are not able to grieve, much less do so indulgently, as they are struggling for survival in a cruel and uncertain world.

This holiday season (and always) my thoughts are with all people who are facing struggles, be they personal issues, tragic loss, or oppression and violence. This world needs more love, compassion, empathy, and understanding. We all need to be the change we want to see.

🥀

Is Anyone Reading This Blog?!

I cannot tell if anyone is reading my posts! It shows that I have 0 Followers…😬😳

If you are reading my posts, I ask you to do me a favor and “like” the posts if you actually do like them, and leave comments for me.

If you do not like my posts, if you find them boring and irrelevant to your life, please let me know what you are thinking.

As a professionally trained ballet dancer, I can take criticism. I crave criticism. I just ask that you keep it civil and constructive.

Thank you for helping to make me a better and more effective first-time blogger.

🥀

When Feeling Lost & Profoundly Sad Becomes The Norm

Im not sure why I thought that this would get easier…

The truth is that I feel that every day I am losing more of my ability to cope, and my executive functioning is becoming more and more compromised.

I vacillate from sheer disbelief that my amazing husband, who was so full of life, is dead and not coming back, to not quite believing it. Then it hits me at random and often inopportune times, and I cannot hold back my despair and fears.

There is still so much to do: with our personal affairs, the bureaucratic hoops I must jump through, the long list of things that I need to remember to take care of, all of this on top of answering his medical and legal practice emails and phone messages, and trying to wrap up the practices in an ethical and thoughtful way, making sure that his patients, clients, and colleagues get what they need.

I realize that I am probably not expected to work so hard at dealing with his practices, but I am ethical and I care about his patients, clients, and colleagues, and am especially concerned that I do what I can to ease the disruption in the care/cases so that everyone is better served. David would be appreciative that I am prioritizing his practices. I want people to remember him with respect, awe, and gratitude. He was a brilliant and compassionate clinician and attorney, and I want to make sure that his patients and clients, as well as colleagues, are taken care of. It’s what David would want.

I am going to do my best to carry on his ADA work, both here and in California. He worked so hard to advocate for people with disabilities, helping them to understand their legal rights, and also called out barriers wherever he found them. I will continue to try to enforce the ADA and get barriers removed, increasing access for those with disabilities.

After all, this is an issue that we should all care about, as everyone is only temporarily able-bodied. No one would tolerate a sign in a business or public area that read, “The Disabled are NOT welcome here,” yet every business or public area that has barrier after barrier that those with disabilities are forced to confront every day are saying just that, “You Are Not Welcome Here,” despite the ADA being passed well over a quarter century ago.

The unfortunate caveat or compromise for the business lobby saw the legislation weakened by forcing those confronted with the humiliation of the barriers they encounter to use litigation in order to be able to assert their rights. How unfair is this?! It is ridiculous. To begin with, David was a rare soul, who possessed the unique skill sets and fearless personality to be able to take on enforcement of ADA regulations. But many in the disability community are forced to restrict their lives when confronted with barriers, because just trying to function every day with a disability, especially in a world created for the able bodied, is daunting. Few have the resources and knowledge needed to take on a resistant system and force adherence.

The Disability Community seems to be the last class of people who have laws to protect them, but those laws are blatantly violated because in order to enforce them it requires the person who is being discriminated against to sue to have their rights respected. I find this one of the most humiliating and tragic flaws of current ADA legislation. Those who violate our civil and human rights are allowed to do it openly until “caught” and forced to fix the problems. Enforcing one’s rights is time-consuming, expensive, and daunting. So most everyone gets away with discrimination because they refuse to remove the barriers on their own, out of a sense of ethical and moral duty.

I cannot think of any other protected class that is forced to do this. We need to change legislation (Minnesota lawmakers in particular have really emasculated the ADA) and demand a better system of accountability from businesses. Those who are interested in this work should contact me.

David B. Ketroser, an M.D., J.D., who was finishing an M.A. in Bioethics at the time of his unexpected death, wanted to change the world, to leave it a better place for his having been here.

He accomplished that in many areas: Medical Malpractice Law, qui tam Law, the diagnosis and treatment of Facet Joint injuries which enabled him to bring relief to many suffering from neck and back pain, Personal Injury Law, and his final mission, to advocate for the rights of the disability community and get barriers removed that discriminate against nearly 20% of the population.

Having an impact on just one of the things on that list made this world a better place.

For him to have worked on them all is a testament to his astonishing life and legacy.

When I met David one of the things that I was struck by was his strong sense of right and wrong, the ethical and unethical, the fair and the unjust. I was instantly full of admiration for him and the unrelenting drive he had to make the world a better place. He certainly did that and more. I am honored to try to carry on his work and keep his legacy alive. Though my level of disability is different than his, yet caused by the same disease, I think that I can still advocate for all levels of disabilities as well as speak to the humiliating and downright shameful barriers that are everywhere one looks.

Writing this post has reminded me of the reason I have to find the strength to move forward, the strength of my convictions, and my desire to honor my late husband and his work.

In the words of the late, great Senator Paul Wellstone, “we all do better when we all do better.” David understood that, and he became the change he wanted to see.

I will forever love, admire, and respect him for that and for all he taught me in our relatively short time together.

Godspeed, my beloved.

May you rest in peace, knowing that your work will be carried on, and that your influence will never be forgotten.

🥀