While states and municipalities make covid’s protective measures more flexible, workers return from the home office, friends meet again in bars and restaurants, and several families still learn to reorganize without those who were fundamental parts of their structure – financial or emotional .
These are families that have lost women who play a key role in their dynamics. Women who are now part of the statistics and are among the 600,000 deaths by covid registered in Brazil last Friday (8).
“My mother vaccinated people all her life, but she didn’t have time to be vaccinated”
“I am a journalist and worked at a college in Salvador, Bahia. In 2019, I left my post and moved to the countryside with my husband, in search of a better quality of life. My parents continued to live in the capital, and we saw each other frequently. .
Shortly thereafter, the covid-19 pandemic began in Brazil and, as I work in the field of scientific journalism, I joined a group of communicators that, in partnership with health institutions, aimed to disseminate accurate information about the disease.
Until then, my sister lived in Belo Horizonte with her partner and son. But she got divorced and went back to my parents’ house with my nephew, who is 5 years old. Because she was unemployed, my mother, who was retired, covered most of the food for the house, in addition to the child’s health insurance and other expenses. My father also contributed, but the amount of his pension was smaller and insufficient to cover everything.
In January 2021, we had to expose ourselves to places we hadn’t been to before and we ended up getting sick. My sister was the first to show symptoms. Then all of us, including my husband, contracted the disease.
On the eighth day of symptom, I was hospitalized with complications. My mother was admitted the next day, but no one told me until I was discharged 12 days later.
My mother, who worked her entire life as a nursing technician in the interior of Bahia, taking care of and vaccinating those who needed it, did not have time to take advantage of the benefit of the covid vaccine.
At 63, she could have been saved, but, due to an inefficient government action, she spent 30 days intubated, until she died.
It was a very tough situation. For three months, we had to rely on the financial help of family members from far away, including my 90-year-old grandmother, to hold our backs at home, until we were able to access the death benefit.
Today, my sister went back to work, and we got organized again. However, we have lost our economic and emotional pillar, our safe haven.
When I see the return to agglomerations, I can only think that this may be a hasty step, because the virus is still circulating and anyone who has suffered its consequences on the skin knows how dangerous it is.”
Mariana Alcântara, 38, journalist, lives in Cruz das Almas (BA)
“I feel like I’m coming back from a war”
“I live in a city with only 4,000 inhabitants. Here, I work in banking, and my husband, who was 36 years old, worked as a veterinarian and farmer. He was a very dear character: simple, humble, but very communicative and he arrived to run for vice mayor of the region.
We had been together for 16 years, eight of them being married. We have two daughters, the oldest three years old, the youngest just one.
With the arrival of the pandemic, we adapted our activities. In the beginning, we spent four months isolated in a place that we have 3 km from the city. I went to and from there every day, as I continued to perform my duties in person. But when we realized that there was no time for the quarantine to end, we returned to our house.
We took great care of my grandmother, as she had health problems and was considered a risk group. She was the matriarch of the family, took care of me and my sisters in childhood, while my mother worked outside the home. At her house, there was always breakfast, lunch and dinner for whoever showed up.
She resolved all conflicts in a loving way. He didn’t let his relatives fight, he picked up everything, but always calmly.
Unfortunately, in March of this year, covid-19 hit our family. My grandfather, my grandmother, two aunts, my mother and my husband were infected at the same time.
It was a very delicate period, because I wanted to help my family members, while I needed to keep contact restricted. It turned out that all the sick, with the exception of my husband, got together in the same house, and whoever was feeling less worse took care of the others.
Unfortunately, my grandmother had to be hospitalized and couldn’t resist. Grief came amidst the concern, since my husband, isolated on the farm, also did not show any improvement. As his saturation dropped, we had to hospitalize him.
They were hospitalized in the ICU for 15 days until they needed to be intubated. But his body didn’t react well, and so was he.
I have received a lot of support from my family, but I still haven’t been able to return to my activities. And I needed to find out about my husband’s business, even though I was psychologically shaken, to stabilize our financial situation.
When I see the ‘new normal’ thing, on the one hand I’m happy. I don’t want my daughters away from school, not playing, not interacting with other children. I defend the vaccine and I know that we will still have to live for a long time living with covid.
However, without the people I love, I feel like I’m coming back from a war, with my family torn apart.”
Silmara Marília, 37 years old, bank service agent, from Paineiras (MG)
“I lost my wife, but I feel it’s important to move on”
“My wife and I had been together for four and a half years. It was the happiest relationship I’ve ever been in. When we met, she already had two biological children, and I adopted them. We lived in a very common and harmonious family structure. .
When the pandemic came, we started to take precautions, adopting security measures, but they were not enough. One contact with a person suspected of being covid-19 was enough for her to become contaminated.
First, even with a positive test result, she had mild flu-like symptoms. However, from one night to the next, he became unbearably short of breath. So I took her to the hospital, and she had to be admitted.
She was hospitalized for seven days, three of them intubated, until she couldn’t resist. As soon as I received the call from the hospital, asking me to go there with her ID and proof of residence, I had an anxiety attack, as I already knew that I would receive the news of her death.
From then on, my life was turned upside down. I only had physical support from my mother-in-law, as my family members live far away. Because of that, I felt very lonely. I reflected on what I would do from then on.
Like my 10 and 11 year old daughters, I also lost my mother in childhood. I know that one of the problems is feeling victimized by the situation and I wouldn’t want them to see themselves that way.
I know that from a political and organizational point of view, the pandemic could have been handled in a more intelligent and careful way, but unfortunately, things didn’t happen that way and we have to continue: protect ourselves as best we can and muster the courage to come back.
Deep down, it’s hard to accept that such a reciprocal and dedicated relationship is being taken away from you. But it’s no use hitting the non-acceptance key. I will never forget her, the longing will always come, but I will learn to deal with her. You have to put a little light in front of it and keep following the path.”
Bruna B., 35 years old, cook, from Rio de Janeiro (RJ)