Fresno siblings share heartbreak, regret after losing mother days before vaccination appointment

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FRESNO, California. (KSEE) – A Fresno family is sharing their story in hopes of preventing other families from going through the same pain.

69-year-old Gloria Garcia died a few weeks ago from COVID-19.

Her children, Andiee Hodges and Ernie Garcia, say her diagnosis came just a day before she was hoping to get vaccinated.

The siblings say their mother wanted to get vaccinated after putting it off for months due to her health conditions, which made it a hassle.

They wanted to share their devastating loss, in hopes others won’t wait until it is too late.

“She was funny. And sarcastic and clever. Fiesty. A potty mouth, which if anyone knows me, knows I inherited, haha,” said Hodges.

Andiee and Ernie can’t help but smile when they look back on their mother’s life.

“The woman killed Jeopardy every night like it was no question,” Andie recalled.

At 69 years old, Gloria, known as ‘Mims’ had overcome a lot.

The loss of her husband, and ongoing health issues including diabetes, liver disease, and a partial leg amputation.

“She wanted to get vaccinated. It’s not that she didn’t want to. It was just a struggle for her to get in and out of the car and then have to sit outside and wait in the line for the vaccination, so she wanted to wait to get it at her doctor’s office where she is more comfortable, and we were okay with that,” explained Andiee.

Her children say they took all the precautions as they cared for her once the COVID-19 pandemic hit. She rarely left the house and they both got vaccinated.

But in mid-July, what seemed at first like allergies ended in a COVID-19 diagnosis and trip to the hospital.

“She didn’t want to go she was like, ‘I can’t believe you are making me go,'” said Andiee.

“I just told her, ‘They will take good care of you we’ll talk later; we love you,'” Ernie said.

The next time they saw her was through a video call. She was on a ventilator and unable to speak.

Within a few hours, the siblings say the virus had taken overtaken their mother, leaving them with no time to say goodbye.

“Even if they’ve passed, you still want that moment, to be able to say goodbye,” Andiee explained.

Andie can’t help but wonder if there was more, she could have done.

“That’s what I have to live with, if I had just insisted and thrown her in the car she would probably still be here because the other patients in the ICU at that time weren’t vaccinated either,” said Andiee.

The siblings hope those on the fence about getting the vaccine will reconsider.

“Whatever side effect you may get, COVID is 100 times worse,” Ernie said.

“My side effects were a headache and sore arm and I’d take that every day, to have her back,” added Andiee.

The family is planning a celebration of life to remember their beloved mother Gloria.

If you’d like to help, the family has set up a GoFundMe account to raise money for the celebration.

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