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The insurmountable pain of children who lost their parents to COVID-19

Aidan Garza often talks about his father in the present tense as if David Garza was still at home, as if he had never collapsed while on the street on December 30, 2020 in Converse City, Texas, America, and it was as if he had never died from COVID-19. “I almost never touched my father’s ashes, because I don’t want to feel cold, because he is always a warm person, really warm. Every time I hug him, it feels like a whole hug. cloud”.

Aidan’s mother and sister Sandra McGowan-Watts are also trying to maintain a life like before. “My daughter doesn’t talk much about the pain, she doesn’t talk to me, she just says things like: Dad like this or where do you put this? She doesn’t talk about her dad much, but she does the same things she does. Dad. Like I’m off work this week, so we clean the garage together. It helps me clean just like him.”

The insurmountable pain of children who lost their parents because of COVID-19 - Photo 1.

But Aidan’s older brother, Julius, had a harder time maintaining a normal life. The boy is forever grieving with gratitude to David Garza and his wife who changed their lives when they adopted them, after being abandoned by their mother and their father in prison. Julius still couldn’t comprehend the reality of losing his adoptive father. “Father passing is the saddest thing that has ever happened to me. I can’t let this go.”

The US does not currently have a program at any level of government to count children who have lost a primary caregiver to COVID-19 like the Aidan brothers, but researchers estimate the number to be more than 213,000 children.

There are also distinct ethnic disparities among COVID-19 orphans, demonstrating disparities in healthcare in the US. Native American children, for example, are four times more likely to be orphaned by COVID-19 than white children. So, while many Americans are already looking to a pandemic-free future, families like those of Aidan and Julius will remain deeply and long-term impacted by COVID-19.

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