Houston woman recovering from COVID-19 grieving losing mom to virus this Thanksgiving

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- This Thanksgiving is tough for so many families, especially those dealing with a loved one who died from COVID-19. The virus has taken more than 260,000 American lives according to Johns Hopkins University, people like Melinda Aguilar.

The 70-year-old grandmother loved to cook and loved to spend time with her family.

"We knew she loved us because she did everything for us. it was always about us, especially her grandkids," said Melissa Aguilar, Melinda's daughter.

Since Thanksgiving is all about food and getting together. It was an especially cherished holiday for the Aguilar family.

"This Thanksgiving is different. She's not here to cook, you know, but I'm still thankful, thankful for everything. Thankful for her being my mom for 47 years," said Aguilar.

The mother of four died in November from COVID-19. Melissa was hospitalized with the virus for eight days.

Melissa was admitted to the hospital on the day her mother passed away.

"While my mom is sitting in the morgue, that Monday, I'm sitting in the ER. So I haven't really had time to soak it all in because I was so sick," she said.

Melissa is now back home, in a place filled with her mother's memories. Melissa was her mother's caretaker.

"I had to come to a house where we lived together and I'm by myself and all her things. Normally when I sit here, she'd sit with me," said Aguilar.

Her family has not had a funeral for Melinda because Melissa still had the virus. She's since tested negative. They plan to have the funeral soon.

This Thanksgiving, Melissa is quarantining at home. While she can't be with the rest of her family this holiday physically, they were still there, dropping off a warm Thanksgiving meal.

The dinner may not be shared in person but her family's love and her mother's spirit filled the plate.

"I'm thankful that I'm here. I'm thankful that I woke up this morning, thankful that I still have my family and the memories that my mom did leave us," said Melissa.

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