‘I couldn’t save her’: Spokane family loses loved ones to COVID-19

SPOKANE, Wash. — Saying goodbye to a loved one is unexpected. Doing it twice in a matter of a month is even harder.

That’s what Ashley Baldwin went through when COVID-19 took her family members’ lives.

“I have never seen anything this horrific,” she said.

Her uncle Ken died on Nov. 11 at his home. Though he did not get tested for COVID, Baldwin believes he may have died from it. He isn’t the only one whose life ended too soon. Her mother-in-law also got sick.

“Right after my uncle passed away, I heard she was sick and I called her, and I said, ‘mom you sound like death,'” Baldwin said.

Baldwin’s family found out her mother-in-law had to be intubated at a Wenatchee hospital on Thanksgiving Day. Tracy, who Baldwin calls mom, tested positive for COVID. Baldwin said Ken and Tracy were not vaccinated.

“I debated my mother-in-law quite a bit on this ‘kindfully’ and her response was she just didn’t want to do it,” she said.

Baldwin accepted Tracy’s choice. But, that conversation later turned from acceptance to guilt.

“We got a call about 4 or 5 in the morning that said she’s not going to make it,” Baldwin said. “I’ve been through a lot of stuff in my life. That was probably the hardest one.”

COVID killed Tracy 13 days after she was intubated.

As the grief set in, Baldwin said she was scared she would have to go through it a third time with her fiancé. He was not vaccinated until recently.

“I said ‘I can’t lose you too,'” she said. “You may be against vaccines or you know, have a political view. It doesn’t matter. just protect your family.”

Baldwin is still going through the grieving process. She is remembering all the goofy moments with her uncle Ken and waiting for a phone call from Tracy.

“Don’t be that person that wishes you had one more phone call,” Baldwin said. “I just don’t know what it’s going to take for people to work together to end this.”

She does not want other families to say goodbye like she has.

“My only wish is I feel like I couldn’t save her even though I tried, Baldwin said. “But maybe somebody that’s watching will feel this and feel the need to protect the ones they love.”

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