Lizanne knew he would continue fighting to live if he found out she had just lost her mother. "I said, 'OK. Mom's fine. She's back at the house. She's going to stay with me.'"
It was Friday, November 20, when Lizanne Jennings sat next to her mother as she lay on the hospital bed. The 78-year-old woman was moments away from death and her daughter, who worked as a nurse, could do nothing to save her. "I’m weary and I’m miserable. I can’t do this anymore," Lizanne remembers her mother saying to her before she passed away. She had been infected with the coronavirus.
Three days after her mother's death, before Lizanne could even begin to cope with the grief of losing her mom, she was once again sitting beside a patient in a hospital bed. This time, it was her husband breathing with the help of the machine he was hooked up to, as reported by The New York Times.
"Are you ready to be at peace?" Lizanne asked her husband as she tried to comfort him during his final moments, as reported by CNN.
"He said, 'Uh-huh.'"
If it weren't for the pandemic, her husband, Dennis would have been the one to comfort Lizanne after her mother passed away. But on Monday, November 23, as the nurse saw her husband struggling to hold on, she told him that her mother was fine so that he could pass away without worrying about Lizanne.
Remembering those final moments with her husband, the ICU nurse from Oklahoma City recalled: "I said, 'OK. Mom's fine. She's back at the house. She's going to stay with me.' Because I knew he would keep fighting if I told him my mom had already died. And so they started giving him morphine and Ativan. I turned him over and I rubbed his back. I said, 'I love you.' He said, 'I love you.' And I said, 'You're going to go now, OK? You can finally be at peace.'"
About half an hour later, Dennis breathed his last, leaving Lizanne and her children in deep grief.
"It's just so raw," Lizanne shared. "Sometimes I'm grieving for my husband and then I realize my mom's gone. And I'm grieving for my mom. I just think... oh, I'm going to go tell Dennis but then Dennis is gone. So the two people that would have been so supportive... you know, they're both gone."
Right from the beginning of the pandemic's spread in the US, Lizanne knew that things would get worse and she also gave her husband a warning.
According to The New York Times, she told her husband back in the month of March, "I need you to pay attention. Look at me: People we know, people we love—our family, our friends—people are going to get this virus. And people we know are going to die."
At the time, she may not have imagined that it would be her mother and husband that she would have to bid farewell to in a matter of three days.
People who knew Dennis, a former bodybuilder who worked as a machinist, thought that he would bounce back after contracting the virus. Just days before falling sick, Dennis was strong enough to win a pushup contest against his son. Despite him looking strong, and despite him and Lizanne's mother taking precautions, they were still infected.
"It doesn't matter how strong you are... It happens no matter what. The virus keeps winning," Lizanne told CNN.
Leaning on her two sons for support, the bereaved nurse added, "I couldn't save either one of them. If people don't wear masks, they don't want to wear a mask... This got brought into our home. My mom never left the house. My husband was so careful. Stop being selfish. Stop being selfish. That's all."