CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Janice Richardson says COVID-19 is wiping out her family. Her niece, nephew and sister have all recently died because of the virus. The day after her niece was buried, her nephew died. Two days after her nephew died her sister died Thursday. This is a family consisting of a mother, daughter and son all died within weeks of each other.
“My heart hurts.” Janice Richardson said.
Her sister was in ICU on a ventilator when she passed away. Her sister’s husband also has COVID-19 and her other nephew is battling the virus too. Richardson says she doesn’t know how her relatives contracted the virus.
Before Richardson’s sister died she was devastated to hear the news of her niece and nephew. She remembers getting the phone calls back to back about the deaths.
“They said Auntie, Nicki passed away - and it was something like hit me on the inside of my stomach that left me feeling so hollow," Janice Richardson said.
The pain was just a gripping when she found out her nephew, John-John, also died of coronavirus.
“I felt I couldn’t even gather my thoughts,” Richardson said.
The family lives in Maryland. Richardson moved to Maryland about two years ago from Charlotte. Her mother still lives in Charlotte. Her mother is staying up to date with what’s happening with her family in Maryland.
“She is alert,” Richardson said. “She wants to know cause these are her children and her daughter. She calls me everyday because she wants to have updates.”
Richardson is thankful her niece and nephew visited their grandmother in Charlotte last October.
“Which was good,” Richardson said. “Because that gave her an opportunity to see her grandchildren before all of this happened.”
The aunt says she doesn’t wish this type of pain on anybody. She says her niece was in her 40′s and had her whole life ahead of her.
“She was the outgoing person who wanted to keep everybody together - kept us laughing, bubbly personality - fantastic mom - very creative,” Richardson said.
Richardson also says her nephew who was in his early 40′s had dreams that never materialized.
“He baked,” she said. “He was in culinary school. He was the cook of the family.”
The aunt wants this to be a lesson for all.
“I don’t think enough people are taking it seriously,” Richardson said. “You cannot take this for granted. You have to use precautionary measures. When I see things like people gathering together - taking it not seriously - that bothers me.”
She is grateful the people who knew her in Charlotte are reaching out and sending their condolences and thoughts.
“They are saying how it effected them,” Richardson said. “How they did not take it seriously because it only effects you when you identify with it and I want people not to have that in their mind. Look at it like it effects people everywhere.”
The aunt did address how numbers are showing COVID-19 disproportionately impacts Blacks. She is concerned about that and hopes things will get better. She does recognize pre-existing illnesses can negatively impact Blacks.
“As African Americans,” Richardson said. “We can have underlying issues and not be aware of some things.”
Richardson knows the days ahead will be rough for her and her family, but she says this has brought her family closer. She says that is her assignment.
“I lean on the strength of God,” Richardson said. “Because that’s where my help comes from and I say that’s the way I have been making it.”