Dallas Nurse Returns to Front Lines After Loss of Husband

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Many healthcare workers have shared their experiences with COVID-19. Occasionally, they pull back the curtains to their personal struggles as well.

Sundays will never be the same for Dolores Diaz.

“Sundays are really hard for me here at home because Sundays were family day,” she said. “My husband would cook whatever I wanted to be on the menu.”

Diaz said her husband, 53-year-old Juan Diaz, was not only the family cook but her biggest cheerleader.

“He was very proud of me. He always pushed me to reach for the stars,” she said.

Even as a nurse at Parkland, on the frontlines of the pandemic, Juan supported his wife. She thinks back on the many faces she’s seen since the crisis began.

“You could see the anxiety for people getting tested,” said Diaz. “You could see it in their face. They were worried, they were scared.”

Now, she’s the one in need of care and comfort. In late June, Juan died of complications from a fatty liver as a result of his diet. On Wednesday Diaz went back to work, this time as a young widow.

“I have four kids that depend solely on me,” she said. “I don’t think the tough part is going to be working and doing my job. I think the tough part is going to be just coming back home and what was normal of him being here is not going to be normal.”

She’s still fully committed to helping others as a nurse during the pandemic, but her perspective has changed.

“My job will still get the best of me, the best Dolores,” she said. “But I need to make the wonderful part of Dolores for my kids.”

And as she nurses others back to health, she begins the work of mending her own heart.

“I’m doing little things for myself that I have never done before,” said Diaz. “Just let me cry, to be ok to cry.”

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

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