She didn’t think twice about going to the family reunion where no one wore a mask and everyone scooped beans and potato salad with the same serving spoons. One hand after another, touching the cold metal until it was warm, holding in the heat from so many people with shared genetic make-up.
Family was everything to her, her moon, sun and stars.
She gave anything and everything to them, her beloved family. As it turns out, they gave to her, as well.
At first, it was just a cough, a sniffle and an aching body. No more than a common cold that quickly progressed into respiratory distress and a trip to the ER.
She was admitted to a private room, where she privately admitted to the nurse in a double mask, face shield, gloves and a floor length gown, that she hadn’t felt well for a few days, since the reunion.
Her husband of four decades begged and pleaded with the hospital administration to see her after she slipped away into a coma. Somehow, he was granted permission and was able to hold her hand from within a bubble of personal protective equipment.
And then she died a week later.
Her spouse mourned from the parking lot, the closest that he was able to get in her final moments. His world crashed down around his ears without his wife to hold it up. How would he live without his life?
The next time her family congregated, it was at her funeral, and still there were no masks.