Covid-19 and Aunt Jeanetta

My Tribute to my Aunt Jeanetta

Who Died from the Coronavirus


“I’m sorry to tell you, but your Aunt Jeanetta died yesterday from COVID-19.”  A man, I knew of but didn’t know - gave me this news.  My aunt, my father’s brother’s wife - was there in my life as I was growing up.  She and my Uncle never had children, nor was she very comfortable around children.  She was a career woman.  My uncle loved us dearly, but Aunt Jeanetta made sure you knew that she wasn't comfortable around children.  As a young child, I do not remember visiting them in their home- they always came to ours.  We were probably too messy.  I remember years later when we would visit her with our children, they were never invited inside – she kept our wild crew corralled in her back yard. 

As I became a young adult, and had already become an RN, I was permitted to come inside her house.  I remember this because  about this time, my Uncle developed kidney problems and he needed dialysis.  My Aunt Jeanetta requested to learn how to do kidney dialysis at home so she could give my Uncle this gift.  Aunt Jeanetta went up quite a few pegs in my opinion of her.  I felt that was a pretty brave thing for her to do, as she had no prior medical training.  She excelled in this, and during dialysis, my Uncle could eat anything he wanted, otherwise when not on dialysis - he was on a very strict diet.  I will never forget his smile as he ate whatever his heart’s desire was during this dialysis time.  At that time I was engaged and my fiancé (now husband) was going to West Point which was only an hour away from where we lived.  He was able to come home on some weekends.  My uncle was in WW II and was so proud of his Army days and loved to talk to Steve about Army stuff.  In fact, after Uncle Sam (that was his name – really!) died, whenever I visited Aunt Jeanetta with Steve, she always brought out some military item that Uncle Sam had gotten during the war.  She shared his love of the military!  She waited for him to come back from WWII to get married.

Being in the military ourselves though, took us away from our home state.  We would go and visit Aunt Jeanetta when back ‘home’, but it was infrequent as more and more of our family moved away from the area or had died.  She was an only child and still lived in the home where she was born.  As I got older, I could appreciate Aunt Jeanetta more.  She was ahead of her time as she chose career over family.  She was a strong woman, and was able to stay in her home until her late 80’s.

She finally entered a Senior Living Facility around 10 years ago.  It was a local facility, near her home, and she knew several people in there.  We visited whenever we were back in NJ.  Last time was two years ago- my sister and I went to see her.  She didn’t recognize us for the first time, but she was polite.  A man who was her banker took over her estate and he was listed as the one to contact if case of her death.  He was local.  He was the one who called us, the family.  There was no family around to care for Aunt Jeanetta.  This was sad.  This man stated that he used to visit Aunt Jeanetta at least once a week.  I was happy that she had this friend from outside the Senior Living Facility.

NJ was hit hard with COVID-19.  Someone must have brought the virus into the facility.  She apparently started to feel sick on Monday and she died by Saturday.  She was 98 years old.  Her friend said he was sad as they would not let him visit her when they started cracking down on senior facilities and visitors.  Aunt Jeanetta died alone in that Senior Living Home.  That makes me sad to think about that.  She was sick and could not have any visitors.  I pray she didn’t suffer.  They had a graveside memorial with one or two people there and recorded it for family to see.  We can’t even have a funeral for her!!!  Maybe later……..I am a victim of the COVID-19 virus.  I am personally not sick, but it took the life of my Aunt, someone I loved and knew my whole life.  I am sad. 

I am sorry for each person that has had a loved one or friend that has been taken by this virus.  We feel powerless over a tiny bug that likes to procreate.  Some have no symptoms, others lose their lives.  Those of us that are left after a death of a loved one feel bewildered and respect an enemy we can’t see.

My hope is in that Aunt Jeanetta believed in God and Jesus Christ.  She went to church and sang often in church. (and at our wedding) I believe she is in a better place now, and if asked if she would like to come back here, she would say “No way”.  I envision her with Uncle Sam and both enjoying new healthy bodies.  I truly believe that God is in control throughout all of this chaos.  There is a plan in place, and it is working out.  Maybe it will make people think of death – we are all going to die – whether it is today or a long way away from today.  If there is no end of the universe, why do we think there will be an end to us?  Even if you believe in the Big Bang theory, that energy that made the Big Bang had to come from somewhere.  There is more than just this life as we know it.  I think eternity it is hidden from us for now as we have to make the decision in this life of who is God?  God or me?  I, personally, choose God.    


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