COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Losing a loved one is never easy, but for Allison Brady, COVID-19 took the loss to an almost inconceivable level.
One of the scariest things about COVID-19 for Allison was the unknown, especially about how sick her parents might get due to being high risk.
Allison thought her worst fears were realized when she and her parents all got sick. Then the nightmare struck not once, but twice.
“My mom was the first one to get sick,” Allison said while thinking back, struggling to place the times and dates. Allison recalls it was eight days before her 17th birthday when her entire world was turned upside down.
“It was just very scary. It didn’t seem real,” Allison said.
Her mom, Kimberly, worked as a hairstylist and had been in and out of hospitals battling diabetes as it progressed. When she moved to an assisted living facility, Kimberly was among the first wave of high-risk vaccine recipients last fall.
After being diagnosed with COVID-19 on Sept. 19, her condition quickly deteriorated.
“Her funeral was Monday morning [the 27],” said Allison, piecing together when her father got sick. “Sunday night, he was rushed in an ambulance to the hospital, and Monday morning my father passed away from COVID.”
Allison watched doctors take her mother off life support on Tuesday, Sept. 21. Six days after that, her father Jim was diagnosed. He died two months before the holidays.
“They’re going to be very difficult. They’re going to be very, very difficult,” said a tearful Allison a few days before Thanksgiving.
Jim had recently started the vaccination process so that he could visit his wife at the nursing facility. His sister Mimi said he died 12 hours after receiving his positive COVID-19 test.
“He couldn’t live without Kimberly,” Mimi cried. “Six days. He barely lasted six days. He just couldn’t do it without her.” Mimi is convinced her brother died of a broken heart.
Allison couldn’t attend her mother’s funeral because she was still sick.
“I couldn’t even get up and go down the stairs,” Allison described. “I was running really low on breath, not wanting to eat anything, not wanting to drink anything. Not wanting to do anything, just feeling really weak.”
She feared for her own outcome.
“Yeah, I thought that every day,” said Allison as to whether she considered the risk to her own life.
Allison and Mimi sit side by side on the couch of Mimi’s Washington Courthouse home. The pair, even though they are family, now share a special bond.
“I didn’t have anywhere to live at the time, and then she… I’m going to start crying,” Allison said with a cracking voice.
“I didn’t question it. Before she even got to the hospital, I said she’s coming with me,” Mimi said.
Kimberly and Jim’s wedding rings grace the coffee table as Allison and Mimi shared their favorite memories and some of the hardest.
“Nov. 8  is when our mom passed away, and he texted me every year,” Mimi said of her brother. “I didn’t get a text this year. It was quiet.”
Even among a few laughs, the rings are a painful reminder of two lives ending far too soon.
“It really has been hard,” Allison described the last two months. “I guess you get through it day-by-day.”
They also want others to know there is never enough time to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you.
“It is real. Be safe. Look what happened to me. It’s not something fun to go through, so really try to be safe,” Allison warns.