SWFL woman searches for peace after she was unable to be with her father before he died due to COVID-19 restrictions

Unable to find peace: It’s something families across the world have and are dealing with as they are unable to see loved ones in their dying days.

Kay Smith looks back on her father John Grishell fondly.

“He was a toolmaker by trade,” she said. “Always took very good care of us; was a good, kind, caring person.”

But his death in hospice six months ago after breaking his hip was anything but easy or normal.

“I pulled down my mask, I read Bible verses to him. I pulled down my mask and just looked him in the face and said, ‘Daddy, if you need to go, go. Just give mommy a hug when you get there,’” she said.

Grishell died just over an hour later and Smith wasn’t able to be there because of COVID-19 visitation restrictions.

“If it hadn’t been for COVID, I could’ve been with him the entire time,” Smith said.

She was only allowed in his room for one hour per visit. “And so I have a lot of anger and I’m upset,” she said. “The pain is horrible. Not being able to be with…he was a very important person in my life.”

Smith doesn’t blame anybody but says she’s still angry and hasn’t been able to find peace.

“I don’t know if there’s peace,” she said. “I resent the fact that the virus has controlled so many things in this country. Whether that should’ve been or should not have been, it doesn’t really matter, but it affected how I was able to handle the end of my father’s life because he meant a whole lot to me.”

All she can do is look back at their time together and smile.

“He was just a good and kind person,” Smith said, “and a shark card player. I’m going to miss playing Pinochle with him.”

As of last week, visitors who meet requirements can return to nursing and assisted living facilities. Hospitals loosened restrictions this week.

Reporter:Rachel Cox-Rosen
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