A breast cancer survivor and mother of six from Washington state who contracted the coronavirus bid her loved ones a heartbreaking farewell by using a walkie-talkie that was propped up against her pillow, according to a report.
“I told her I love her … she shouldn’t worry about the kids,” Elijah Ross-Rutter, 20, 42-year-old Sundee Rutter’s fourth-oldest child, told BuzzFeed News.
The Snohomish County woman was recovering from cancer when she went to Providence Regional Medical Center on March 3, according to the news outlet.
At that time, there were only 27 reported cases and nine deaths from the illness in her state – compared to the current 4,300 cases and 195 people lost.
Rutter and her son spent eight hours in a sealed room surrounded by medical workers in full protective suits.
“They don’t even want to touch my mom,” Ross-Rutter said, adding that they were eventually sent home.
“She thought she had the flu, probably,” he said. “But like, the coronavirus? It was kind of hard for us to understand how she could get it because not that many people had it around here.”
Four days later, Ross-Rutter and his mom returned to the hospital, where a doctor said she would be kept overnight and treated for pneumonia – but the next day, she tested positive for the coronavirus, he told the outlet.
“For a while, she was able to text,” he said, adding that she told him she felt “much better” on March 12.
But her text messages soon turned into just emojis.
“She was sending me hearts on the messages but she wasn’t replying,” he said.
On March 16, Rutter’s six kids – ages 13 to 24 — were summoned to the hospital, where she died later in the day. Their father died in 2012.
The children described her as “kind, beautiful, caring, and goofy.”
“She would also love when we would teach her the new dance moves that were trending. She really loved music,” Ross-Rutter said.
Her oldest child, Tyree Rutter, 24, plans to use the donations of more than $275,000 from people across the US to secure housing for him and his siblings as he completes his final year at Central Washington University.
“Like it’s crazy how much love and support we’ve been receiving from the community,” Ross-Rutter told BuzzFeed. “It kind of goes to show how big of an impact my mom had on our community.”
He added: “She was a supermom, you know?”
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