Oklahoma Woman Loses 20 Family Members To COVID-19

Monday, August 16th 2021, 4:44 pm
By: Anjelicia Bruton

An Oklahoma woman said her faith is what’s keeping her going after losing dozens of family members and friends to COVID-19.

Kimberly Holmes said the pain she experienced last year was like nothing she's ever experienced before.

COVID-19 ripped through her family and she said she fears it could happen again.

Off the top of her head, Holmes can name 20 family members who have died from the virus, and that is not including her friends.

When the virus killed her older brother in 2020, she said she felt like she hit rock bottom.  

“It was hard and we felt like he was dying alone and we couldn't be there. It was so many emotions, and then we couldn't celebrate his life with a normal funeral. That’s closure to us, a funeral,” Holmes said.

Holmes said her loss didn't just stop there. Her aunt died less than two weeks later.

It's not just losing family members to her, but an important piece of Native American history as well.

“Our tribes here in Oklahoma are worried about our elders, because we've lost some that can speak fluently. My aunt, she could speak fluent Choctaw and she taught Choctaw language, but now she's gone,” Holmes said.

Holmes works as a property manager for a residential building with Mental Health Association Oklahoma. She said as the pandemic picked up, so did her job.

“It's been an emotional time for her, but one of the things we like to do is support our employees and help if people come forward,” said Greg Shinn, Mental Health Association Oklahoma chief housing officer.

The advocacy organization gave hazard pay to their frontline workers.

Things seemed to be going back to normal for a while, but with COVID-19 cases on the rise again, Holmes said she's starting to worry.

“I just pray and have faith in the Lord that he guides us and protects my family. I have to trust him, “Holmes said.

Holmes said even with a vaccine, she's still seen COVID-19 impact her family. Right now, her son and husband both have COVID, but she said they're doing fine.