HOPEWELL, Va. -- As COVID-19 cases rise, a woman is preparing to spend her first Christmas without her mother.
Meshayla Jones lost her mother, Syvie Robertson, a former nurse in Hopewell, to COVID-19 on New Year's Day 2021.
"I put a Christmas tree up in each of my children's rooms this year and I let them pick out an ornament that would remind them of their granny," Jones said.
Right now, Syvie's family is navigating their first holiday season without her.
"It was getting to me. I would find myself crying," Jones said.
"Thanksgiving this year was rough, Sheila Robertson, Syvie's aunt, said.
Robertson used to have Syvie over for a big meal every year.
"Syvie could make the best sweet potato pies and I made pie this year and nobody wanted to eat them. I can't make them like she can, I just can't," Robertson said.
The holidays not only bring Sheila sadness because of Syvie's absence but it's also the time last year when she became infected.
"I got my last text from her on December 16. Her last text telling me that she was okay. She was afraid. And for me to help take care of her kids," Robertson said.
In ten days, Jones' three kids will open presents around the Christmas Tree and none of them will be from their grandma.
Meshayla said that her children still can't fully comprehend the loss. Experts are offering advice to families like hers who are trying to cope with grief:
- Encourage them to talk about their feelings, but don't push
- Make sure you, the adult, are taking care of your mental health
- Find ways to honor their memory
"As long as I live, if I can help it, they're going to remember who their granny was and that she loved them so much," Jones said.