To fully comprehend the loss of so many lives during the pandemic, it helps to see their faces and hear from the loved ones they left behind. Nikki Battiste shares their stories.
NORAH O'DONNELL: And to fully comprehend the loss of so many lives, it helps to see the faces and learn the names of the dead, and to hear from some of the loved ones they left behind and still grieve. Here's CBS's Nikki Battiste.
REBECCA RILEY: He was just so full of life, just always smiling.
- That dada.
MICHAEL RILEY: Is that dada?
REBECCA RILEY: My best friend. I miss him so much. I'm sorry.
NIKKI BATTISTE: Michael Riley died from COVID-19 at age 47, hours after a final FaceTime call with his wife and two young children.
REBECCA RILEY: He just kept saying, it's OK, I'll see you soon. It's OK. I love you. That was the last thing he said.
NIKKI BATTISTE: It was just two weeks before Christmas.
REBECCA RILEY: It's indescribable, the pain. I don't know if you still get the-- it feels like you're literally being punched in the stomach.
Wait, go around, go around.
NIKKI BATTISTE: It's a pain she shares with Pamela Addison and her children, Elsa and Graham.
PAMELA ADDISON: Now Elsie will look up at the sky and say, papa's up in the sky.
MARTIN ADDISON: Head, shoulders--
NIKKI BATTISTE: Their dad, Martin, lost his battle with the virus last April. He was 44.
PAMELA ADDISON: So I decided to create a Facebook group, because there wasn't one. And especially for young widows, because we have the challenge of having young kids.
- It's just like everything is a mess right now with, with the girls.
NIKKI BATTISTE: The group, now 400 strong, meets twice a week on Zoom.
- It took my daddy, now it took my husband.
NIKKI BATTISTE: 65% are survivors of color--
- My husband was Brian--
NIKKI BATTISTE: --families disproportionately hit by the virus.
- My husband's name was Casey.
REBECCA RILEY: If it wasn't for this group, I wouldn't be OK.
MICHAEL RILEY: Aw.
NIKKI BATTISTE: Michael and Martin cherished being fathers.
MARTIN ADDISON: You can spread it around.
PAMELA ADDISON: And now our kids are going to have friends that will understand what they went through.
NIKKI BATTISTE: An unexpected family.
REBECCA RILEY: Yes.
PAMELA ADDISON: Yeah.
NIKKI BATTISTE: Pamela and Rebecca told me they hope no one else will need to join their group of widows, but the CDC is forecasting nearly 60,000 more Americans will die from COVID-19 by mid-March. Norah?
NORAH O'DONNELL: Nikki Battiste, thank you.