Every day, Manitobans hear the numbers tied to COVID-19 — caseloads, test positivity rates, hospitalizations and, most grimly, deaths.
Those stats tell us a lot about the virus, but very little about the people who suffer through the disease and those who don’t make it.
In an effort to highlight the personal impact of the pandemic, 680 CJOB and Global News spoke with Manitobans who lost loved ones to COVID-19 this year.
“We had really been holding out hope that she just had a seasonal cold,” said Jenn Lambert, whose 80-year-old mother, Elizabeth Olah, died Nov. 9.
“It’s an excruciating conversation to have with a physician to give them the green light to put your mother on a ventilator, just to buy you the time to get there to say goodbye.”
Eddie Calisto-Tavares, who lost her 88-year-old father Manuel, said she knew he wasn’t going to make it when she saw his symptoms getting worse.
Calisto-Tavares and her two brothers were able to be by her father’s bedside when he died Nov. 11 at the Maples Personal Care Home.
“I said (to him), ‘Dad, everything is good, everything is perfect here. You just go. We love you, we’ll miss you but you just go because we don’t want you to suffer anymore.’”
It was very different for Gloria Neault, who wasn’t able to be with her 72-year-old brother, Laurence (Sonny) Favel, when he succumbed to the virus.
“Maybe the last hour or so of his life… they let our sister watch him from afar,” said Neault.
“It’s very heartbreaking when you can’t be there to hug them and kiss them and tell them how much you love them. I didn’t think it would be that fast.”
“It’s the worst thing you’ll ever see, someone suffering with COVID,” said Karen Blushke, whose 80-year-old mother-in-law Brenda Gregory died of the coronavirus Nov. 6.
“You’ll never forget that image, you’ll just never forget it. Although they’re not in any pain and you know they’ve been medicated, the body is still fighting for air.”
Lawrence Lewsey’s mother Ethel died only three days short of her 100th birthday Nov. 2.
“I was angry,” Lewsey said.
“I didn’t want her to go that way… not COVID. Just hoping she would make her 100th birthday but at the end of the day, she had a good life. That’s what I hold on to.”
If you lost relatives during the pandemic and want to share their stories, we’d like to hear from you.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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