GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. (WDAF) – A Missouri family is mourning the loss of their loved one to the Delta variant of COVID-19.
They said 45-year-old Tricia Jones, a Grain Valley mother of two, was hesitant about getting the vaccine, and then she became ill. Her health quickly went downhill, and she died on June 9.
Her mother, Deborah Carmichael, said Jones was hesitant to get the vaccine because she saw Carmichael get sick after her first shot of the vaccine. Now, Carmichael hopes Jones’s death will convince at least one person to get the vaccine.
“I never would have thought I would lose my daughter at 45,” she said.
Carmichael said her daughter was a light in everyone’s life. She was fun, and when she walked into a room, everyone knew it. Now, she keeps her light alive in her memories.
In the spring, Carmichael got her vaccine, but Jones wasn’t so sure and decided to wait.
“She was afraid of the side effects, I think. You hear a lot of horror stories. I, myself, when I had the shot, it was rough, so it scared her and freaked her out. So she didn’t want to do it. I couldn’t convince her,” Carmichael said.
Carmichael said by April, Jones’s son had caught the Delta variant at his junior high school, and both Jones and her husband got sick, too.
“After she got it, she said, ‘Mom, you were right about the shot, about masks, being diligent and all that.’ I was like, ‘I don’t want to be right. I want you to be well. That’s all that matters,'” Carmichael said.
Jones was hospitalized, and on May 13, she was put on a ventilator. She died less than a month later.
“I felt like, as her mom, I brought her into this world, and the most loving thing I could do if it had to come to this is usher her into the arms of the Lord. It wasn’t my choice. It wasn’t what I wanted. Everything in me was screaming, ‘No, this can’t be right. She’s only 45,'” Carmichael said.
She leaves behind two children, including 18-year-old Adriana Jones, who has autism.
“She was my best friend. She was my best friend,” Adriana said.
Adriana said her mom was her greatest supporter. In high school, she said she was bullied a lot because of her diagnosis, and her mom was her biggest advocate. She would come to the school and work with her counselors on how to help her.
This year, Adriana graduated high school without her mom by her side. They planned to take classes together at a community college. She was going to take psychology classes, and her mom planned to study business.
“She was actually in the middle of helping me figure it all out for it, and now, I feel lost because I don’t understand none of it,” Adriana said.
When her mom was in the hospital, her COVID subsided, but she wasn’t able to get off the ventilator and wasn’t awake. Adriana said she would sit by her mother’s bed, and she would talk and read to her. They would read her daily devotionals, psalms, and even play some of her favorite music hoping to connect with her.
“There were so many days where I would just stand there next to my mom and say, ‘Wake up, Mama. Wake up.’ She would never wake up, and I just wish that she would. I don’t think anyone should have to go through what we went through. Especially with the variant,” Adriana said.
Her family is praying people will see Jones’s story as a call to action to get their vaccine — if not for themselves, for the ones they love.
“Please take this seriously. You don’t want to see a family member you love go through this,” Carmichael said. “You have a way better chance of coming out OK than if you don’t.”
“I really miss you. I miss you a lot,” Adriana said.
Carmichael said the variant can be very hard on people’s bodies. She said she watched her daughter get sick very quickly.
She said nurses told her they were seeing more young people who are unvaccinated coming into the hospital. Some metro health departments said they are seeing younger patients getting sick as well, some of them 30 years old and younger.