What It feels Like To Lose Someone From COVID-19

Lillian Troyan // As Told to by Beth Kamman

Imagine losing the one person in the world that you loved the most. My grandfather, Papa, was a father to me. Growing up, I did not have a dad like everyone else. I had someone better; I had Papa. Losing him to a virus that took the world by surprise was the worst feeling in the world. I did not even get to say goodbye to him, and I was not even allowed in his room.

His death is the first that hit me hard. I had never experienced a loss that great in my life. He was the father figure in my life, and now that spot remains empty. He was the one who was supposed to walk me down the aisle in my future wedding. My grandpa was my best friend, the person I could run to and cry.

Papa died from pneumonia caused by COVID-19. I never thought something like this would happen to me. It felt like someone tore out my heart and threw it away. I never got to say goodbye to him; he could not speak due to needing a ventilator.

This death was incredibly difficult for me mentally and changed my mindset towards life completely. I learned that life is incredibly short, so enjoy it while you can because it is not forever. Now without him, I have started becoming more independent and mature. However, his death did not only affect me; it affected my whole family.

Papa’s death was tough for all of us, not only emotionally but financially as well. Our financial situation changed dramatically since the loss. The hospital bills were enormous and hard to pay after the loss we just suffered. It was devastating to see my toddler cousin look for Papa, only to realize he is not with us anymore. Papa was the center of our family, who made our days better just by being around us.

Throughout this whole experience, I would not change a thing. He always told me that everything happens for a reason. I had to believe this happened for a reason because that is the way he would want me to think. All I could do is hold onto the memories I had of him.

I remember this one day when I was 12 years old, Papa and I would go down to Tennessee, just the two of us. We would make birdhouses with Uncle Bill for Mother’s day. I remember laughing and smiling, enjoying life with him. I wish that day had never ended because we were having the time of our lives. He was not just the man who raised me; he was the person who taught me everything. My grandpa did not only teach me, but taught other kids to work hard.

Papa was a football coach for over 40 years. He would always push his players to be the best they could be. That is the thing about Papa: no matter who you are, he would always believe in you and never give up on you. Papa was there for me every step of the way, encouraging me, loving me and supporting me in every way he could. He worked for everything in life, and he taught me to do the same. My grandfather fought for me, so the most important thing I can do in life is fight for me, too.

Losing someone to COVID-19 made me realize that it is not some silly virus that people overdramatized. It is a serious thing. I stopped going out, and I started to take better care of myself. I have become more cautious when I do go outside or go to school. My family has started to clean the house more than usual. I am becoming more terrified of this virus as it evolves and spreads.

My first thought when I found out Papa had COVID-19 was, I’m really scared right now. I can not lose him. I started to become very anxious and worried about how my life would change. I began to think about what would happen if he died from COVID-19 and how much I would miss him. However, he is not the first person in the family to get the virus.

I had the virus first in the early fall, way before my grandpa had it. Having COVID-19 was the worst experience ever. I felt so sick, and the chest pains were the worst. I understood how my grandpa felt, and I wish I could have taken away some of the pain. Before I had gotten it and before Papa had it, I never realized how terrible and painful the virus was. I can only imagine how the other cases were.

Take it from me, do not take your family for granted because they may not always be there. Create new memories, keep the old memories, cherish the time you have together. Even if you are mad at them, give them a hug and tell them that you love them. You never know what could happen.

If I did not have Papa at all in my life, I do not know who I would be. He made a giant impact on me. I would not be myself without him. He taught me valuable life lessons: how to be independent, how to live life to the fullest, to never give up no matter what. He is the reason why I am a genuine person, excelling student and optimistic in every situation.

To those who do not take this virus seriously, please do. Please wear your mask and keep your distance from others to prevent another family from losing someone to COVID-19. I do not wish for anyone else to lose someone to the virus. It is excruciatingly painful to experience.

I wish that I could spend one more minute with Papa and thank him for everything. Just one more memory, one more hug, one last goodbye, one last laugh with Papa.