SEDRO-WOOLLEY, Wash. — With dish soap, brushes, and plastic water jugs in hand, Carole Rae Woodmansee’s four children cleaned the gravestone their mother shared with their father, Jim. Each scrub shined engraved letters spelling out their mother’s name and the days of her birth and death: March 27, 1939, and March 27, 2020.
Carole passed away on her 81st birthday.
That morning they marked a They say their father must be happy to be back with his wife of 46 years. They thank them for being good parents and recall how their mother used to “my” before calling their names and those of other loved ones.after contracting it during a choir practice that sickened 53 people and killed two — a superspreader event that would become one of the most pivotal transmission episodes in understanding the virus. For the siblings, the sad anniversary they at closure after the pandemic stunted their mourning. They were finally . “The hardest thing is that there was no goodbye. It was like she just disappeared,” said Carole’s youngest child, Wendy Jensen. After cleaning, the siblings reminisce.
I was always ‘My Bonnie,’” Bonnie Dawson tells her siblings. “I miss being ‘My Bonnie.
“She had been missing Dad for a long time,” eldest sibling Linda Holeman adds. Their father, Jim, passed away in 2003. Of the more than 550,000 people who have died of the virus in the , Carole was among the first. Her after the first reported outbreak at a nursing home in Kirkland, about an hour south of Mount Vernon. Carole, who survived heart surgery and cancer, had fallen ill at home. Bonnie took care of her until they called the paramedics. “You’re trying to to your mom, and they’re telling you to get back. It was a very hard, emotional … to have to yell, ‘I love you, Mom,’ as she was being wheeled out the door with men standing in our yard 10 feet out because they want to be near our house,” Bonnie said.
The rehearsal of the Skagit Valley Chorale, a community choir mostly of retirees and not associated with the church where they practiced, happened twobefore Gov. Jay Inslee shut down the state. The choir had taken the precautions known then, such as distancing themselves and sanitizing. But someone had the virus. “The choir themselves called us directly, and they left a voicemail. The voicemail said a positive person in the choir, 24 people now sick,” said Lea Hamner, cinfectiousdisease and epidemiology lead for Skagit County . “It was immediately evident that we had a big problem.”