Dinuba woman mourns loss of her mother as family members contract COVID-19

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The longing Brenda Sanchez feels for her mother is constant. It weighs heavy on her heart every hour of every day.

"I love her and I miss her so, so much," she said.

Last month, her mother, Maria, tested positive for COVID-19 and in just three days, died from the virus.

But instead of grieving the loss together, Sanchez, two of her siblings and her dad also tested positive.

Sanchez herself quickly took a turn for the worse and found herself in the ICU at Community Regional Medical Center, bedridden and alone.

"My thinking was, if I end up in the hospital, I'm going to go, too," she said. "I'm going to die."

She says her coughs were so painful she couldn't stand up, but it was the loss of her mother that hurt the most.

The woman she grew up admiring, that was caring and full of so much love was gone.

"My mom, she is my other half," Sanchez said.

According to Sanchez, her mother suffered from Wegener's disease, which ultimately resulted in a kidney transplant.

When she contracted COVID, her disease flared up again and attacked her lungs this time.

Sanchez says she still doesn't know how or where they were exposed to the virus.

"Doctors from the ICU told us that they couldn't do anything for her," she said.

Sanchez has since been discharged and cleared along with the rest of her family, but she now relies on an oxygen tank to help her breathe.

As she works to get better, she urges people to take the pandemic seriously.

"Please, please, take care of yourself, because COVID-19 is real," she said.

Her mother will be laid to rest later this week and is asking the community for any help to cover the unexpected loss to the family.

A GoFundMe for the family has been started.
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