The effects and dangers of COVID-19 often set in in the blink of an eye. One minute, you can feel fine, and the next day, you can be hospital bound or on a ventilator. We also cannot underestimate the reality of danger that attending social gatherings puts us in. Darrell Blakely, age 88, passed away at North Manchester Hospital after contracting a lethal combination of sepsis and COVID-19.
Blakely had attended a party with friends who had just returned from Italy on a ski trip and were unknowingly carrying the virus. The New York post contacted those who had been at the party, and half have tested positive. At the party, Blakely contracted COVID-19.
Blakely’s grandson is now speaking out about the horrifying experience of saying goodbye to his father around a medical environment that was everything short of empathetic. When he got the news that his grandfather had collapsed in his home and had been taken to the hospital, he immediately rushed there.
He says he , “had to put on protective gear — including a mask and gloves — in order to be allowed just briefly to visit his father as his condition deteriorated last week”.
He recalls the painful memory of seeing his grandfather in that condition:
“After 15 minutes I was struggling to breathe properly in it,” he told the newspaper. “Tears were streaming down my face. The hospital doesn’t like anyone to stay longer than 15 minutes. It took longer to remove the equipment than being with my dad. It sounds awful, seeing him was the most terrifying thing I have ever done.”
Hospitals are already emotionally taxing places, and due to understaffing and harsh demands on medical professionals right now, the environment can be even more challenging to navigate. Blakely’s family experience the difficult reality of loss of life in a high pressure environment where resources are scarce and beds are needed.
On a positive note, Blakely’s family is choosing to celebrate his life through forwarding acts of kindness during these trying times. They ask that loved ones and community members “Help someone who is lonely or struggling during this time, who needs shopping, child care, or a chat…Post tiny acts of kindness given and received and shared. Build something beautiful in Darrell’s memory.”.
Blakely’s church, St. Michael’s Church is also creating a wall of kindness in his memory on which people can post heartwarming stories and words of wisdom for the community.