Tragic Brothers Lose All Four Grandparents To COVID-19 - ViralTab

Tragic Brothers Lose All Four Grandparents To COVID-19

Story ByMichael Leidig, Sub EditorJoseph GolderAgencyCentral European News

Two tragic brothers are struggling to come to grips with the fact that they lost all four of their grandparents to the coronavirus.

Kevin Luwel, 33, and his brother Kenneth, 28, said they barely had time to come to terms with the fact that their first grandparents died when after that they then lost all.

Kevin said: “When we lost the first one, we were of course sad, but it really hit us when we lost the second one. When it happened a third time, it became incomprehensible. But now with the fourth death is just too much. Too much too fast.”

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He added that in some families grandparents exist in the background, but they said in their family their lives revolved around their grandparents.

He said: “They were completely part of family life, we had so many great family celebrations with our grandparents. They were at my wedding two months ago.”

He added that both sets of grandparents lived healthy and independent lives and in their own homes.

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He added: “There was the occasional illness but that’s just part of being old. One was a kidney patient and had difficulty walking but he was still strong.”

The two said that Grandpa Eduard ‘Warke’ Luwel, 86, from Rummen was the first to fall ill. They don’t know how he contracted the virus but suspect it was during kidney dialysis treatment.

He said the family had always employed lockdown and his grand grandparents never went anywhere, not even to do errands, and didn’t accept even family visitors, never mind friends.

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Kevin added: “They had a hard time with that. Visits by the grandchildren and great-grandchildren: that’s what they lived for.”

Grandpa Warke died on 31st March, fairly soon after the first symptoms. “In retrospect, I find some comfort in that. He was not lonely in the hospital for long.”

Jacqueline Cuypers, 80, Warke’s wife was the next to go. Kevin said: “My father and uncle had just told her that Grandpa had died when she got a phone call from the hospital about her own diagnosis. It turned out that Grandma was also infected with the corona virus.”

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He said she was admitted to the hospital because of her oxygen levels and did not have an easy death.

He said: “There she was alone in her room, fighting for her life, while she had to deal with her husband’s death. That was hell for us as a family. We could call and video chat with her, but still. That’s not the same.”

He said right up to the end they thought that she would survive saying: “We thought sincerely: She’ll get through. She thought so too. We were even laughing with her on day five. She had every reason to carry on living. Her newest great-grandchild is on the way. She definitely wanted to get to know the baby.”

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But she deteriorated suddenly and died on day nine in the hospital.

He said: “We got to speak to her one last time, with video chat. There we were, all at the same time in front of the screen. She was there and listened, but showed little emotion. Maybe because of the morphine. Still, it was important to see her. I had to see with my own eyes how bad she was to believe it.”

As they struggled to make funeral arrangements, the family were then told that their other grandparents Jef Vanhaeren, 84, and his wife Dora Jooken, 80, were affected two weeks later.

They said they were floored by the news because their grandmother Jacqueline was the healthiest of all four, and after she succumbed they were more than a little worried about the other two.

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The grandfather Jef was the first to die, he suffered a short illness and refused to go to hospital because he did not want to die alone. His wife Dora also died at home a month after him. He said: “In the end it meant that she also died alone.”

The brothers say one thing that devastated in particular was the fact that the family stayed away from the grandparents so that they didn’t get the virus, but they got it anyway and died.

He said: “We told ourselves we would make up for the lost time later, but they still got the virus. And now we can never make up for that lost time.”

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Michael Leidig

Journalist, Author, Film Maker, Editor.