She lost her mother to COVID-19. Now, she is urging British Columbians to help stop the spread

Teresa Comey wants to get her loved ones together to mourn her mother's death, but she can't.

She wishes she could throw her arms around her grieving father, but she can't do that, either.

What she can do, though, is tell British Columbians to do everything they can to make sure they don't suffer as her family has.

Comey's mother, 89-year-old Beverley Kellett, was a resident of the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver, B.C., and died on Friday of COVID-19.

Thirteen people in B.C. have now died of the disease, including 10 connected to the outbreak at the care centre where Kellett lived. As of Monday morning, there were 472 confirmed cases of the virus in the province.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has ordered people to stay in their homes and keep their distance from each other to prevent the coronavirus that causes the disease from spreading further. 

Comey, who is currently waiting for test results to find out if she herself is infected, is hoping her story will act as a wake-up call for anyone ignoring what is potentially life-or-death advice.

"Unless you have been touched humanly by this, you might not get this," Comey said Monday on CBC's The Early Edition. "We have an obligation as individuals to follow the directions that have been given to us by Bonnie Henry."

Submitted by Teresa Comey

Large gatherings are 'so selfish'

Comey said it pains her and her family to hear people say they are not worried about COVID-19, or to hear stories of people gathering in large groups and not social distancing.

"That is so self-focused and so selfish," said Comey. "Every single one of us is part of the story of what happens going forward."

Comey does not want her story to be anyone else's.

She said it feels like she is living frozen in time, stuck in isolation, unable to comfort her 89-year-old father, who lives in a suite off Comey's Deep Cove house that she cannot enter for fear of infecting him.

Comey said her father started a calendar when his wife went into care and wrote down who was visiting her every day. 

Now, she says, he is struggling with depression and loneliness. Deprived of hugs, he and Comey can only comfort each other by speaking metres apart. She said she has been sitting on her patio and trying to console him from a safe distance. 

"Normally you come together as family when someone dies. We can't do that," said Comey. "It's a very strange way to lose somebody."

If you have a COVID-19-related story we should pursue that affects British Columbians, please email us at impact@cbc.ca.