Abel Bautista thought Christmas would be bleak, but it turned out that the day before was really heavy. Years ago, Christmas was when Abel Bautista’s mother and sisters “cook like crazy”. They are like generals who are commanding a big operation and will definitely order Abel and his father to go to the supermarket to buy things because they discovered that they forgot some necessary spices. Abel and his father, Mr. Abelardo, grumbled but still went to the market together because it was part of the tradition.
Sad Christmas of the families of Covid-19 victims
This holiday season, brother Gerry and sister Christina come to help Abel decorate the house in Alice, Texas. But their presence could not make Abel forget the familiar scene for many years with the smell of gravy, pies and eldest sister Angie nearly nudging her mother in the cramped kitchen. In the past, every time Abel came home, Abel would hear noises from different electronic devices.
The youngest Marisol plays video games in his room, his father Abelardo watches cowboy movies in the living room and his mother, Carolina, watches the TV series and raises her fists at the bad guys. Both loved movies, Abel and his father would drive for hours to their favorite record store, looking for works that never appeared on Netflix. “Make sure you find something for me,” Angie called after her brother left the house, and Abel never forgot to buy her movies from the 1980s.
At the end of June this year, Abelardo contracted Covid-19. Abel thinks Dad contracted the virus from the hospital where he went on dialysis. Abelardo survived but the disease gradually spread to the whole family. Angie left first. Next came Caroline, who died without knowing her eldest daughter was gone. On August 3, Marisol took her last breath just minutes before her loved ones could say goodbye. Witnessing this scene, Abelardo collapsed to the floor. Eight days later, he also died from an accident involving the dialysis device.
Four months on, Abel is “still shaking”. “Losing a loved one is bad enough, and yet I’ve lost half of my family. What do I do? My mind is still trying to understand what happened,” he said.
Abel, Gerry and Christina live close to each other. They try to encourage themselves because they know that’s what their parents want, but they still sleep to forget reality only to wake up because of nightmares. Abel knew he had to move forward, but so far, he hadn’t left the purple Angie shirt hanging on the door to dry. Abel also hadn’t fixed the bathroom door he knocked over when he heard Marisol fall to the floor.
Now, every time she has to go out, Abel finds it difficult because she knows that no one is waiting for her at home.
Tim Leung needed 40 years to find Bie Lun Leung but he only had 10 years with her.
Lun was the first to truly understand Tim and realized that despite his quiet life, he still loved beauty and adventure. A couple in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, often watch hot air balloons fly out the window. On one of Tim’s birthdays, Lun drove him to a newly opened hot air balloon business near his home. Despite her fear of heights, she willingly went up in a hot air balloon with Tim, flying so much that they saw her shadow in the clouds.
Tim and Lun’s marriage was made even happier by having twins Noelle and Victoria Leung six years ago. Their day is filled with color, glitter and innocent songs. Lun knows how to put a beautiful ponytail on her children, make sure each child gets their full attention, and make one laugh after being snatched by the other.
Lun died of Covid-19 in April 2020. Since then, every time I put my baby to bed, Tim feels sad because one of the girls will cry because he misses his mother. “Dad misses you too,” Tim told the twins. “And I miss you too.”
Elaine Minichino took care of her son Adam for 32 years before losing him to Covid-19 in July.
Adam was born three months early and had to stay in an incubator. Seeing the baby less than a pound, Elaine Minichino thought her son would not live. But despite being born with a lung disease, Adam is much stronger than his mother thought.
Struggling with illness, Adam was very small, four years old as big as two-year-olds. Stressed over children, Elaine’s marriage broke down, but the mother still tried to rise up, ready to work two jobs to make enough money to take care of Adam.
To control his temper tantrums, Adam had to take attention-deficit hyperactivity medication. However, the drug caused the boy that day to lose his taste. Elaine had to learn how to make rich chocolate and mashed potatoes with butter. In his 20s, Adam weighed 45 kg.
Turning 30, Adam still lives with his mother in Clearwater, Florida. Jim Minichino, Elaine’s new husband, sometimes argued with his wife about encouraging Adam to move out. Elaine is adamant because the mother believes that her son still needs her, when Adam’s lung function is increasingly declining.
When the doctor prescribed steroids, Adam’s blood sugar was affected, causing Elaine to change his diet. She learned to cook fish and vegetables instead of starchy dishes like pasta and potatoes. Her schedule went back to the way it was when she gave birth because she had to measure Adam’s blood sugar at least once in the middle of the night.
Earlier this year, Adam was hospitalized with health complications because of Covid-19. Elaine couldn’t visit her son, so the two texted, even at night.
On the morning of July 6, Adam texted his mother that he was feeling very well. “Glad you’re feeling better,” Elaine texted back with a kiss icon. “If you don’t need anything else, see you tomorrow.”
“Yes, I love you. I’ll call if I need anything. I love you so much and miss you so much,” Adam texted back.
Waking up, Elaine called Adam but he didn’t pick up. She texted: “I’m getting ready to go out and do some gardening. Are you okay? Probably sleeping.” Adam never read those lines.
Since the day she lost her child, Elaine no longer wanted to be a cook. Jim had always thought that time would heal all but looking at his wife, he doubted it. “This wound cannot be healed,” he said.
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