CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Chicago 911 dispatcher died from COVID-19 earlier this month, and now his wife is seriously sick with the same disease.
For the Lopez family of Archer Heights, the last few weeks have been devastating. Now, they're imploring others to think beyond this Thanksgiving.
"My mom is going to be in the ICU for Thanksgiving, and we're going to be planning a funeral for my Pops," said their son, Ricardo Lopez.
He said the nightmare began when his parents were hospitalized earlier this month for COVID-19. Lupe Lopez, a longtime OEMC dispatcher, was the first to end up in the ICU. It was there the 58-year-old suffered a stroke. Maria was all alone when she learned he had passed.
"The love of her life, the man she's been married to for 30-plus years, having to say goodbye through a FaceTime because you can't even be in the same room," Ricardo Lopez said. "That hurts me more than anything that I can't even be with my mom right now. I can't be there to comfort her."
Maria's condition then worsened. On Friday, the grandmother of four was also admitted to the ICU and placed on a ventilator.
For the Lopez family, how they'll spend Thanksgiving was decided for them. But officials say others have a choice.
"We have to accept what we're dealing with, a global pandemic the likes of which no one has seen before," said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of Illinois Dept. of Public Health. "That does deserve a change from the norm."
"People need their families, you know, like I get it. There's going to be more Thanksgivings. There's going to be more holidays," Ricardo Lopez said. "There's going to be more celebrations. There's going to be more birthdays in the future. Don't, don't make this the last one."