Texas woman loses sister to COVID-19 while planning funeral for mother who also died from virus


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — A Texas family is sharing their experience with COVID-19 after losing two loved ones to the virus, just days apart.

Tammy Sexton was in the middle of planning a funeral for her mother when she learned that her sister had died of coronavirus.

Sexton said the last time she saw her mother, Felicia Garrett, in person was in October, on her 66th birthday. She said all seven family members contracted the virus, but it was Garrett and their 48-year-old sister, Antwannette Precious Whitner, who were hospitalized with symptoms.

“I really lost two family members before I could even put one down,” Sexton said.

Sexton said her mother spent 41 days in the hospital and her sister 48 days before they died. The mother and daughter shared a room at the hospital, and were both put on ventilators.

Sexton said when their mom died, they didn’t tell their sister as not to agitate her and worsen her state.

“The phone rang it was the doctor calling and I just knew … and we had to shift the focus to my sister like it would kill her if she knew that mom passed away,” Sexton said.

Sexton said her sister’s condition slightly improved in the days following her mother’s death.

“We were at the funeral home putting things together for my mother and fifteen minutes after we were there is when we get the call for my sister,” Sexton said.

Her sister leaves behind two teenage children ages 14 and 15.

“When we told them about my mom, they asked ‘What’s going to happen to my mom?’ and I said she’s going to make it, everyone thought she was going to make it…but she didn’t make it,” Sexton said.

The family said when their loved ones were in the hospital they made sure to call them through Zoom everyday, especially as birthdays and holidays passed.

“We weren’t there to hold their hands when they died, we can only see them on Zoom and even though we Zoomed them everyday its not the same,” Sexton said.

The family cautions the El Paso community to continue following safety precautions.

“The events and all the things you think are important, they aren’t important you know,” Sexton said. “The next time that I see my mother and my sister will be the last time I ever see them again and its just not fair.”

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