She lost her husband to COVID-19 - now, she's fighting back

"Why is no one offering to help? Why aren't we receiving phone calls from social workers or psychologists offering mental support?"

A LOT of the basics seem to be melting away, so we need to be holding hands. (photo credit: PXHERE)
A LOT of the basics seem to be melting away, so we need to be holding hands.
(photo credit: PXHERE)
A new Facebook group is bringing together family members of diseased coronavirus victims who are struggling to accept the new reality thrust upon them and are demanding support from the state, N12 reported. 
Gabriel, a 66-year-old from Be'er Tuvia, contracted coronavirus at his place of work less than two months ago. He, in turn, passed on the virus to his wife Miri, forcing both of them to enter quarantine. Gabriel's condition quickly deteriorated and within several weeks he passed away. Miri found herself dealing with shock, more than anything. She couldn't bring herself to say goodbye to the person who was her husband for 45 years.
The thing that hurt most, Miri told N12, was the promptness of the whole thing. At first, Gabriel only suffered from a fever, but it slowly got worse, leading him to visit the hospital for a checkup. Miri remembers how he was quickly released home after doctors administrated oxygen to help with his breathing difficulties. 
Gabriel remained active throughout the entire time and regularly spoke to family members on the phone. Everyone was certain he would get better, Miri told N12.
But as time went by, Gabriel's condition deteriorated and doctors at Ashdod's Assuta Hospital were forced to connect him to a respirator. 
From there, "it wasn't long until he gave in," Miri told N12, and on August 25 she received a phone call notifying her that her husband had passed away and that she was welcome to come and say goodbye. 
"I was angry that they didn't call earlier to update us on his condition," Miri said. "I begged them to give him the best possible treatment, but we had no way of knowing what was happening because we were completely cut off from him," she added. 
Miri and her children didn't get the chance to say goodbye. Even When Gabriel was taken to the hospital, paramedics asked Miri to stay inside, as she had the virus. That moment still haunts her. 
Everything happened so fast, that Miri and her family didn't feel like they had the chance to digest everything that had happened. Gabriel was supposed to retire in less than a year and Miri said they were planning on fulfilling their life-long dream of traveling the world. 
Miri expressed her frustration over the lack of support provided by any state-owned institute to families who are going through similar experiences.  
"Why is no one offering to help? Why aren't we receiving phone calls from social workers or psychologists offering mental support? Why is there no body that takes care of families who've been left behind, and are in trauma by this unfamiliar situation?" 
The unbearable experience on the one hand and the lack of help on the other, led Miri to take action. She decided to open a Facebook group that will provide some kind of support, as limited as it may be, to families whose loved ones died from coronavirus. 
Word quickly spread among families who lost family members under similar circumstances and were looking for a place to share their frustration and grief. Today, the group includes members of 200 families, all joining Miri's cause. 
"Everyday I receive phone calls from people who suddenly found themselves alone with traumatized little children," Miri said. "It's not about one person who contracted some virus, it's a pandemic. This virus is everywhere and can reach everyone."
"People are forced to live with this fear, which gets much worse after losing loved ones because of it," Miri noted. 
Miri is also worried about her financial situation. With no income, she wonders how she's expected to survive. Her three children are currently supporting her, but she says that won't last. At the moment, people who lost their spouses due to the virus are not eligible for any financial grants from the state. 
Miri is hoping that her Facebook group will continue to grow until it can make a change. She expects the state to provide some kind mental and financial support and to recognize the rights of "indirect coronavirus victims."
Following the publications about Miri's story, the Health Ministry released a statement reminding the public about a telephone service that it established for providing support during the coronavirus pandemic.
"Anyone experiencing mental distress due to fear of being infected, economic concerns and more - is welcome to apply for the service. Within three days, you'll receive a phone call from a mental health therapist," the statement noted.