Dad Could Only See My Eyes As I Said My Final Goodbye

Story ByMichael Leidig, Sub EditorJoseph GolderAgencyCentral European News

A young woman from Antwerp who is waiting by the phone for the call that will tell her that her coronavirus infected father has died has posted pictures online of her final meeting with him to urge people to respect the quarantine.

Alessandra Ruyten, 28, who described her father as not just a dad but also her best friend, posted the moving message on Facebook about their final goodbye.

One picture was of herself taken in the mirror where she is seen wearing protective clothing and gloves, with a mask over her mouth, saying all her dad could see in his last image of her were her eyes.

She even posted a picture of her gloved hand with her arm in the protective suit clasping her father’s pale hand as it emerges from under the sheets.

She said she had decided to share the images to warn people, saying: “On the way to the hospital for a final greeting, I see how people outside seem to have forgotten about the need for social distancing simply because the sun is shining. Yet I’m not even allowed to kiss my daddy goodbye.”

The Antwerp based photographer got the call on 4th April from the doctor on duty saying that they heard a rattle in his lungs, which indicated pneumonia, and that he had tested positive for the coronavirus.

She said: “Daddy deteriorated faster every day. Because the doctors could see he was short of breath and very sick, they started palliative care. He’s going to die any minute now. I sit by my phone and wait for a message about him from the hospital.”

Her message to all those who she saw in the sunshine enjoying the Easter weekend she said: “… please think about your fellow man. You really don’t wish this on anyone. I can only hold my dad’s hand with my gloves on. I was told I shouldn’t touch his skin with my skin, I shouldn’t kiss him, I shouldn’t hug him. He could only see my eyes, I was completely wrapped up in a protective suit. The horrible images you see on television about Corona are real. And it is a thousand times worse and more painful in real life.

“The last few days I have been living in a kind of bubble, it doesn’t really feel. But many people also still live in a bubble when it comes to Corona. Until they or their loved one get the virus.

“Only then will it be taken seriously. Let us show solidarity together. Only go outside if you have to. A walk should be possible, but short and keep the proper distance. Stay home. A short sentence that means so much. Only by following this instruction can we spare other people and ourselves from suffering. The COVID ward is full. My dad isn’t alone. Young people are equally being badly infected by this terrible virus. I don’t want to spread fear, quite the opposite, I just want to call for care and consideration.”

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