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Coronavirus robs Michigan woman of whole family

Sandy Brown tried to calm her son, Freddie, alone and scared in a hospital intensive care unit. His father had died a few days earlier. Freddie, just 20, was worried he would die, too.

Talking on FaceTime throughout the night, Sandy recited Scripture and tried to slow his breathing. She sang spiritual songs to coax him to sleep, like a mom singing lullabies to her baby.

One day later, Freddie died.

Imagine awakening from one nightmare only to slip into another.

In three days last week, Brown lost her husband and son, Freddie Lee Brown Jr. and Freddie Lee Brown III, to the novel coronavirus.

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“There’s not even a word created to describe my pain. It’s unimaginable,” she said.

The younger Freddie — her “Boopie,” her “Sonny Redd” — was her only child, so Brown’s family is all gone now.

If the two losses weren’t excruciating enough, COVID-19 comes with other tools of torture.

It has ravaged every stage of Brown’s torment, from the illnesses to the deaths to the grieving. She couldn’t comfort her husband and son. She couldn’t say goodbye.

Even in death, the virus hasn’t relinquished its hold.

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It made a mockery of funeral arrangements Friday. And it deprived Brown from receiving what she needs most right now, which is a hug.

“You feel helpless,” said Andy Torok, who coached the younger Freddie when he played football for Grand Blanc High School. “You can’t go to the house and tell them it’s going to be all right.”



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