COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Losing a loved one is never easy, but for Allison Brady, COVID-19 took the loss to an almost inconceivable level.
The 17-year-old thought her worst fears were realized when she and her parents all got sick with the coronavirus. Then the nightmare struck not once, but twice.
“My mom was the first one to get sick,” Allison said thinking back, struggling to place the times and dates. Allison recalled it was eight days before her 17th birthday when her 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 Brady 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.
Allison watched doctors take her mother off life support on Tuesday, Sept. 21. Six days later, her father, Jim, was diagnosed.
“Her funeral was Monday morning [Sept. 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.”
He died two months before the holidays.
A few days before Thanksgiving, a tearful Allison predicted that the holidays would be “very, very difficult.”
Allison’s father had recently started the vaccination process so that he could visit his wife at the nursing facility. His sister, Mimi DeWine, said he died 12 hours after receiving his positive COVID-19 test.
“He couldn’t live without Kimberly,” DeWine cried. “Six days. He barely lasted six days. He just couldn’t do it without her.” She 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 said. “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.”
Allison feared for her own outcome, saying she considered the risk to her own life.
“I thought that every day,” she said.
Sitting side by side on the couch of DeWine’s Washington Courthouse home, Allison and her aunt described a bond between them that’s even more special now.
“I didn’t have anywhere to live at the time, and then she … I’m going to start crying,” Allison said with emotion in her voice.
“I didn’t question it,” DeWine said. “Before she even got to the hospital, I said she’s coming with me.”
Kimberly and Jim Brady’s wedding rings graced the coffee table as Allison and DeWine shared their favorite memories and some of the hardest.
“Nov. 8  is when our mom passed away, and he texted me every year,” DeWine said of her brother. “I didn’t get a text this year. It was quiet.”
The rings are a reminder of two lives ending far too soon.
“It really has been hard,” Allison said of the last two months. “I guess you get through it day by day.”
Regarding the virus, Allison added, “It is real. Be safe. Look what happened to me. It’s not something fun to go through, so really try to be safe.”