An anonymous donor brought relief to a Houston family needing to bring the body of their loved one back home after she died of COVID-19 in a New Mexico hospital.
Tuesday Fagbehingbe, a mother of two, was taken to New Mexico after contracting COVID-19 because Texas hospitals had reached capacity due to the latest COVID-19 surge, Fox 26 Houston reported. After the mother died on Aug. 21, the family wanted to raise money to bring her body back home and have a funeral.
“When it happens to you, you’re in shock and you just don’t know how to deal with it,” said Fagbehingbe’s brother, Parnell Jones. “Mom is on social security and I’m not rich by any means.”
As they were contemplating their options, the family received news from a Houston funeral home director, who said an anonymous donor paid for the body of the 48-year-old teacher to be brought back to Houston for burial.
“This weight is off my shoulders now,” said Fagbehingbe’s mother, Brenda Asterion. “We can bury my baby.”
Asterion said her daughter was diagnosed with diabetes shortly before her passing, but she was mostly healthy. Fagbehingbe was also planning to get the COVID-19 vaccine according to her family. Before she was able to get the shot, however, the Houston mother became ill and went to urgent care, where she was diagnosed with the coronavirus.
She then died two weeks later, alone on a ventilator in a New Mexico ICU.
“The last four days they let me, they put the phone up to her ear so she could just hear what I was saying and how much I loved her,” Asterion said.
The family said they now face the challenge of moving forward without their loved one, who taught at a Houston Head Start and was a divorced mother of two.
“Zion is 16 and Jesse is 5. He says now she’s with God in Heaven and then he’ll be sitting there thinking about her and he’ll say ‘well, when is mom coming home?’ I just don’t know what to do,” Asterion said.
According to the Texas Tribune, the state experienced a drastic surge of COVID-19 cases last month, with the Delta variant largely contributing to the spike.
“We are entering the worst surge in sheer numbers,” said Mark Casanova, a member of the Texas Medical Association’s COVID-19 Task Force. “This is the fourth round of what should have been a three-round fight. We do have very sincere concerns that the numbers game is going to overwhelm us.”
State officials said about half of Texans are fully vaccinated. Between 93% and 98% of hospitalized COVID patients in the state are unvaccinated.