REFLECTION

Covid-19: ‘He died alone when all he wanted was to hold his wife’s hand’

By Liezl Pye 21 January 2021

Liezl Pye lost her husband, Adam Pye, to Covid-19 just days before Christmas 2020. She recalls that days before he tested positive for Covid-19, her husband had committed to raising awareness in their community about how deadly the virus is. (Photo: Liezl Pye)

Liezl Pye lost her husband Adam to Covid-19 on 21 December 2020 just as she and her asthmatic daughter tested positive for the virus. A few days after Adam’s death she wrote to their Fish Hoek community to share her experience in the hope of preventing this pain for others. Her reflection is published with permission.

This whole Covid-19 is so unnatural for a grieving process.

I was not allowed to go to the hospital. I believe that is partly why he gave up, as he was petrified of being alone when sick.

The hardest thing for me to still accept is that my husband WhatsApped me at 21:00 saying that all he wanted was to hold my hand and at 02:00  they phoned me and said they found him in his bed passed away. He died alone when all he wanted was to hold his wife’s hand.

Then you are not allowed to go and see his body. You are not allowed a funeral. So there is no closure.

You are trapped in your house with memories every day of him. You can’t take a break and just go and walk along the beach. Friends and family can’t come in and give you a hug and have a cup of tea so you can talk. Some brave loving people come to your gate and talk to you while they sit in their car or stand in the street.

Everyone is petrified of me and I am petrified of giving them this dreaded disease.

When you need medicines the chemists are running out and friends have to drive from one to the next to try and find it for you. When you run out of simple things like black bags or practical day-to-day things, you need to find a kind friend to get it for you. But you do not want to burden the same small group of friends all the time.

And as the devil would want it, everything goes wrong at the worst times. A mouse family moves into the lounge. The plumbing blocks. The garage lock disappears.

In between all this, you feel terribly sick… unlike you have ever experienced before. The pain is so intense, but as a mother, I need to stand strong because my asthmatic 17-year-old tested positive and is experiencing different symptoms. My youngest, a 14-year-old, tested negative but has symptoms.

I need to be a nurse and comforter to them as well.

I am not sharing my story for empathy, though some message me and tell me this.

I am sharing my story with the community I love so much. Because if my story can save only one family this unnatural grief then his death and our pain emotionally and physically are not in vain.

It is now nine days later, we are still fighting Covid-19. I am still waiting to receive my husband’s ashes or even his death certificate.

Covid-19 is real! Those who had it and were lucky to be asymptomatic can thank their lucky stars. I would rather give birth twice over than experience this pain again or be on the nebuliser five times a day, or see my 14-year-old collapsing in pain or my 17-year-old struggling to breathe.

Please take heed.

Your mask protects me and my mask protects you! DM/MC

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