Remembering the lives lost to coronavirus

Nikki Battiste
·2 min read

To fully comprehend the loss of so many lives to COVID-19, it helps to see the faces, to learn the names of the dead and to hear from some of the loved ones they left behind. Some of the women widowed by the virus are finding solace in one another.

Rebecca Reilly said her husband, Michael, "was just so full of life" and always smiling. He was her best friend.

"I miss him so much," she said.

The couple has two children, Leah and Michael.

Rebecca Reilly pictured with her husband, Michael, and their children Leah and Michael.  / Credit: Handout
Rebecca Reilly pictured with her husband, Michael, and their children Leah and Michael. / Credit: Handout

"Leah is the light of his life," Reilly said. And Michael is a spitting image of him. He's Mike reincarnated, for sure."

Michael Reilly died from COVID-19 at age 47, just hours after a FaceTime call with his wife and their children.

"I pushed the kids in front of the screen so that they could say, 'I love you, Daddy.' And he kept saying, 'It's OK. I'll see you soon. It's OK. I love you.' That's the last thing he said," Reilly said.

Reilly's husband died two weeks before Christmas.

"It's indescribable, the pain," she said. "Feels like you're literally being punched in the stomach."

It's a pain she shares with Pamela Addison and her children, Elsie and Graeme.

Pamela Addison, her husband, Martin, and their two children Elsie and Graeme.  / Credit: Handout
Pamela Addison, her husband, Martin, and their two children Elsie and Graeme. / Credit: Handout

"Elsie will look up at the sky and say, 'Papa's up in the sky. I can't reach him 'cause he's in heaven. But he's in my heart,'" Addison said.

Their dad, Martin, lost his battle with the virus in April. He was 44 years old.

Addison received a card from a stranger after her husband died. "You're not alone," the card said. So Addison created a Facebook group for young widows, who could support one another through the pain. The group is now 400 strong and meets twice a week on Zoom.

"If it wasn't for this group, I wouldn't be OK," Reilly said.

Addison added: "Our kids are gonna have friends that will understand what they went through."

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