DRUID HILLS, Ga. (NBC News Channel) — A child-like innocence rests in Tanya Washington’s homes, but these arts and crafts are not just for play.
“We’re gonna make posters,” Tanya said, explaining that they were meant to honor her father who died of COVID-19.
Her 80-year-old father, Dr. Carey Washington, was ecstatic after being fully vaccinated.
“He was so excited, like so excited, he called, like celebrating,” she said.
However, this excitement did not last after he tested positive for COVID-19.
“Five days in, he was on 100 percent oxygen,” Tanya said.
Tanya discovered an unvaccinated coworker tested positive days before her father got sick.
“I was like, what?” she said. “Did anybody notify my dad? No.”
No amount of forewarning could prepare Tanya for what was ahead.
“I was in head-to-toe PPE, and that’s how I said good-bye to my dad, and I held my dad’s hand as he took his last breaths,” she said.
Now, Tanya uses audio recordings to keep in touch with her father’s memories.
“There’s a lot of voicemails that I kept from him,” she said. “I still hear the encouragement in my dad’s voice.”
A child, no matter what age, struggles to lose a parent, and it’s a feeling that Tanya said she wants to keep others from experiencing.
She’ll tell their story at an upcoming event for covid survivors, honoring her father while trying to save someone else’s.
“We just miss him terribly,” she said “We really do.”