'It's like there's no closure': Grieving family mourns loss of loved one from COVID-19
MAPLE RIDGE, B.C. -- Eighty-year-old Sandra Cairns moved into the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver about five years ago.
Last week she became sick. Just days later, she was dead.
Cairns is one of ten seniors at the home who have lost their lives after becoming infected with COVID-19.
"I will just miss her whole demeanour. The fact that she was just so feisty and strong-willed," said her daughter-in-law Anita Coueffin-Cairns. "She was probably the feistiest woman I ever met in my entire life. I don’t intimidate easily and when I first met her, oh my God."
The family is heartbroken they couldn’t be with Cairns, a great-grandmother, during her final days.
"They told us we could come and say goodbye, but there’s no way Sandy would have even wanted us to do that, to jeopardize our family. We just couldn’t do it," said Coueffin-Cairns.
And now, the family cannot even gather to celebrate her life because of the need to self-isolate during the pandemic.
"It’s like there’s no closure," explains Coueffin-Cairns.
The outbreak at the Lynn Valley care home has resulted in 42 seniors and 21 staff testing positive for the novel coronavirus.
"You can’t take them out of isolation because of the outbreak and you can’t come in and see them because of the outbreak," said Sandra’s son Rob Cairns.
Meanwhile, the family wonders if more could have been done to stop the spread of the illness.
"Could we have prevented our mother from dying? I don’t know," said Coueffin-Cairns.
They say Sandra Cairns, who had spent many years working as a nurse, would have wanted them to warn the public about COVID-19.
"You need to be careful. You don’t think it can happen to you. We didn’t think it would happen to us but it did happen to us," Coueffin-Cairns told CTV.
"We’re not all invincible. We don’t know enough about this virus," said her son.