AUGUSTA, Ga. – For some families this year, there was one less chair at the Christmas dinner table, and fewer presents under the tree.
“Things like that that go through your head and knowing that those days are over,” said Matthew Coar, who lost his wife Yolanda to COVID this year.
According to DHEC, some 9 thousand families in Georgia have also lost someone they loved due to the virus. Families like Coar’s, who paid a visit to a cemetery on Christmas Day.
“I had a few words with her, and for me, it was a little tough. You know, again, you just kinda reflect on past Christmases, the things she would do, the routines, the traditions,” he said.
Carol Sweeney also lost someone to COVID. Her son Dustin passed away just 9 days after getting a fever. She still can’t bring herself to disperse his ashes.
“It’s hard, but you know what, you put your strength in the good Lord, you have a lot of friends, you have family, and those are the ones that get you by,” said Sweeney.
Thousands of families lost their designated gift wrapper this year.
“Every year, ‘alright I gotta get these gifts wrapped early.’ But it never happened. I just remember her sitting on the middle of the floor trying to wrap gifts,” said Coar.
Other families lost their designated un-wrapper.
“He would get up every Christmas and just- like a big kid. Helping put [his son’s] toys together,” said Carol Sweeney. “It was like he was a big child.”
But they both say despite there being one less stocking above the fireplace, they aren’t braving this alone.
“I do have a huge village that helps me. My family, coworkers, her coworkers,” said Coar. “But all those are what helps me, helps us get through all of it.”