Dallas Family Shares Painful Goodbye, Urges People to Forgo Thanksgiving Gatherings

85-year-old Norma Flowers' family said goodbye via FaceTime as she died from COVID-19

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It's been three months since the six Flowers sisters laid their mother Norma to rest, and still, it’s impossible to revisit their final goodbye without tears.  

“She was just so kind-hearted and so loving. And for us knowing how good she was, we just don't feel like she deserved to suffer in the end and like she suffered,” said Kristine Holt.

In July, amid a surge in cases of COVID-19, the family's worst fears came true as the 85-year-old was rushed to the ICU after testing positive for the virus in her assisted living facility.

The pandemic had already kept them from being with her for five months.

Now they’d have to prepare to say goodbye via FaceTime call.  

“That was really tough because when we were at the hospital the first time and the doctor came down with her phone, my dad knew that was the last time he was going to get to see her on that phone,” said Brenda Mask.

Her daughters say it took just a week for the virus to claim their mother's life.

In the end, two of them were allowed into her room as she took her final breaths.

The rest of Norma's seven children and husband of 68 years told her via a phone screen how much they loved her.

Together they comforted her, singing “You are My Sunshine.”

“It’s like a nightmare. It’s a total nightmare going through something like that,” said Glenda Flowers.

Now as they watch the cases climb again, the family's preparing for their first Thanksgiving not only without their mom but also without the big family gathering they're used to.

Traditionally the Flowers family Thanksgiving draws a big crowd. This year, they won't gather to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“We would love nothing more than to comfort each other and support one another, but we know it’s more important for everyone to be safe because we don’t want to see anybody suffer the way that my mom suffered,” said Holt.

They hope their family’s story will encourage others to do the same.

“If showing that video, as hard as it is for us, will stop somebody from passing this virus to a loved one, we'll do it every day and all day if that's what it takes to keep somebody safe and alive and to keep somebody else's family from going through the heartbreak that our family has gone through,” said Holt.

*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.

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