It’s been three weeks, but she’s still in disbelief.
Erica Schlissel– an HR manager at Lutheran Services Florida– lost her sister-in-law to COVID. And the story of how it happened still haunts her.
“Tanya always put others before herself,” Erica recalls. “So she was adamant about everyone in the family getting their vaccine. We all did it because she pushed us to protect ourselves.”
But Tanya had yet to get her vaccine, once again making sure that others were taken care of before she tended to herself.
“That’s just the kind of person she was,” Erica explains.
Soon after encouraging her family to get vaccinated, Tanya fell sick with COVID. She was hospitalized, and the family held out hope that things would be okay, but her condition never improved and she passed away on September 27.
Erica and her family are still haunted by the question: Why didn’t we make her get her shot? But with Tanya ever the caregiver, she put their needs before her own.
“We had plans,” Erica says. “The weekend she passed; we were going to visit her son at school in Boston.”
The tragedy of the loss is something the family is trying to navigate each day. And while the pain still weighs heavily on them, the support they’ve received has helped.
“I know we often say ‘LSF is a family,’ but the past few weeks have proved that we really are,” Erica says emphatically.
Erica says her LSF family has called, listened patiently, sent cards, and shown understanding. Some have even offered gift cards, and they check-in on her frequently.
“Some of my co-workers who are caring for me have had their own COVID losses, so it’s just incredible to see.”
Tanya leaves behind a husband, a 19-year-old son, and a 10-year-old son.
They’re hoping that their mother’s passing is a message to those who are waiting to be vaccinated.
“I guess I hope the person hearing this story will realize that this is serious and getting those shots can keep your family from feeling the devastation that we feel right now.”