Around the country, thousands are grappling with loss as a result of COVID-19.
Lizanne Jennings, 53, an ICU nurse in Oklahoma, is dealing with loss times two after losing her husband and mother just days apart.
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On November 23, Jennings’ husband, Dennis Davis, passed away. Just three days before, her mother Linda died. Both passed away as a result of the novel coronavirus.
Jennings spoke with CNN about her last moments with her husband.
“Are you ready to be at peace?,” she asked Dennis, whom she had told that her mother was recovering. “I knew he would keep fighting if I told him my mom had already died.”
“And so they started giving him morphine and Ativan. I turned him over and I rubbed his back. I said, ‘I love you.’ He said, ‘I love you.’ And I said, “You’re going to go now, okay? You can finally be at peace,” she said, recalling the last moments with her husband.
Jennings recalled how she had given her husband a dire warning when the virus first came to the U.S.
“Look at me: People we know, people we love – our family, our friends – people are going to get this virus,” she had told him at the time. “And people we know are going to die.”
Dennis listed to his wife and regularly wore a mask and sanitized his hands. Jennings also noted that her mother “stayed home for eight and a half months.”
“And so you have people that are doing everything right and we didn’t get to hug my mom and we didn’t go anywhere…and we still lost them,” Jennings said.
“It doesn’t matter how strong you are,” the grieving wife and daughter said. “People are like, ‘Oh man, Dennis is so strong. He’s going to make it.’ It happens no matter what. The virus keeps winning.”
“It didn’t have to be this way,” she added. “Our family didn’t have to be gutted.”
Jennings son Brayden also contracted the virus, but recovered.
“When I got that positive result that, that took away [my mom’s] support system. They were both in the hospital, and I couldn’t come hug my mom because I couldn’t get her sick,” Braydon said. “Luckily I recovered well, but we weren’t able to be together because of COVID, and she was alone and grieving while they were both just gone.”
More than 14 million people have contracted the virus in the U.S., according to The New York Times and nearly 280,000 have died.
When I’m not hanging out with my three-year-old and husband in Brooklyn, I’m busy writing stories for Mamas Uncut and managing PR + Marketing for Magnolia Bakery, based in New York City. On weekends, you can usually find me at a local park or playground pushing my daughter on the swings, “researching” the best almond croissants in Park Slope or launching into impromptu family dance parties at home, the sidewalk or, every once in awhile, a restaurant bathroom. I’m still trying to master the whole parenting thing, but I have learned that copious amounts of coffee, humor and humility are involved on a daily basis.
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