Tucson woman loses dad to COVID-19, asks people to wear masks

Local COVID death

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -According to AZDHS, 6588 people in Arizona have lost their lives to COVID-19 since the pandemic started.

“I think my dad meant fun,” said Kara Vatthauer.

Vatthauer’s dad was a sports fan, a fisherman, a patient and kind soul.

“He would give his left hand if someone asked for it,” she said. “He had always planned to die in his easy chair watching the Cubs play, or watching the Packers play, and he didn’t get to do that.”

A couple of weeks ago her dad came down with a 103 degree fever, high blood pressure and couldn’t eat. He tested positive for COVID-19.

In his mid-80s, the family knew it would not be good. He was admitted to the hospital, certainly not alone in his lonely fight with COVID-19.

“You can see them all through the windows at the hospital… they’re just sitting there in misery and suffering, and that’s not okay,” said Vatthauer. “There were many, many potential grandpas in there all sitting around basically waiting to die.”

Her dad fought for 10 days, but eventually lost his battle.

“It was 10 days and just... he’s gone. It didn’t have to be,” she said. “We would’ve had him for Thanksgiving. We would have had him for Christmas.”

A kind stranger sent a frame in the mail. It reads in part, “For every time you think of me I’m right here in your heart.” A picture of Vatthauer’s mom and dad rests in the frame.

As she and her family hold the memories of their loved one, she hopes no one will have to feel the same burden of loss. They hope everyone will take the measures necessary to keep everyone safe by wearing a mask, washing hands and keeping a safe distance.

“Just because one person didn’t wear a mask, one person didn’t go get tested… the whole family suffers,” she said.

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