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Boston artist home painting again after lengthy coronavirus battle

BOSTON — A Boston artist who fought a lengthy battle with coronavirus is back at his South Boston home recovering and painting again.

Norman Crump, who turned 70 in the midst of his battle with Covid-19, was hospitalized on Apr. 2, and spent 2.5 months away from home. As his condition deteriorated, he was on a ventilator for several weeks, going in and out of a coma. At one point, at Boston Medical Center, his heart stopped.

“It was a fight. The best way I can describe it is, I felt like I had a lead blanket over me, and I just kept sinking deeper and deeper,” Crump told Boston 25 News from his front porch Wednesday. “You hear thoughts like, ‘All you have to do is just stop trying. It isn’t going to hurt; you just go right off.’ I would feel that way, and other things would happen that would encourage me to keep going.”

That motivation to keep fighting came from his faith, thoughts of his family and the support of his community. Hundreds of fans had been praying for Crump and sending him well wishes on Facebook. Many posted pictures of their favorite Crump paintings with special messages.

“I felt encouraged,” Crump said. “I didn’t know until after, how many people were praying. I was actually blown away by how many people.”

The doctors and nurses at both BMC and Spaulding Rehabilitation, where his recovery continued, also bolstered Crump’s fragile spirits.

“The people at the hospitals were wonderful. They just – they never give up,” Crump said. “They were so incredible. Unbelievable people.”

Crump returned home on Jun. 12, reuniting with his biggest fan of all, his wife, Jane, who had also contracted the virus but was able to recover at their apartment. The couple feel grateful to be alive and to have one another.

“I feel like I got a second chance at life again – not that I didn’t like the first one. I’m a little more appreciative,” Crump said. “I do feel very lucky.”

Crump began painting again last week, still regaining strength in his arms and hands but optimistic for a full recovery.

“It was a little shaky, because I was a little weak, but it’s coming back,” Crump said of picking up the paintbrush again. “It’s what I’ve been doing every day for 40-something years… It feels good.”

As Crump continues to work with physical therapists at home, he is catching up on several orders placed by clients before he was hospitalized. He plans to reopen his downtown Boston studio in September.

The Crumps urge others wear face masks and practice social distancing.

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