FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/FOX24) — A young Fort Smith mom fighting for her life against COVID-19 has lost that battle.
Emily Robison, 22, died on September 20th at Mercy Hospital in Fort Smith.
KNWA/FOX24 first told you about Emily’s fight back in September. Now her husband, Eric, said he’s doing his best to stay strong for their newborn daughter, Carmen, while coming to terms with the fact that she will grow up without her mom.
“It feels like the life getting stripped out of your body,” said Eric as he described what it feels like to lose Emily at such a young age.
When we last talked with Eric, Emily was in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator. She was in stable condition, but then things turned for the worse.
“They brought us all into the room and told us that her lungs collapsed again and she wouldn’t survive,” he said.
When her heart stopped, Eric said he was able to be there and watched as doctors tried to save her.
“They tried to get her back three times and then the fourth time there was nothing they could get back,” he said. “I sat down in the family room and said my goodbyes.”
Eric remembered telling Emily they were going to put her on life support and that she cried at that news. He said he told her he loved her before they put her in the coma.
Now that she has passed, Eric said he has to turn to Carmen. She was born more than two months early via C-Section and has been in the NICU since her birth. He said she is a healthy and growing baby, and they were able to move her to a crib last week.
“It’s like closing your eyes and taking a step forward no matter what, that’s what it feels like because I can’t think about going forward,” he said. “I just have to take it no matter what, for Carmen.”
But he’s not doing it alone. Mercy ICU Nurse Ashlee Schwartz has taken Eric under her wing through this entire process. She set up a baby registry for him when she learned that he didn’t have any of the essentials needed for a newborn. She said her home is now being overrun by donations and gifts from strangers.
Now she’s keeping Emily’s memory alive by framing her handprints to give to Carmen, the daughter that Emily never got to hold.
“I just want Carmen to have piece of her mom,” she said. “My sister had gifted me one for Mothers Day and I looked up one morning on the refrigerator after Emily had passed and I thought, oh my gosh, I have to get Emily’s hand prints.”
She talked to the director of the area Emily was in and got her handprints before she was cremated. She plans to take Carmen’s handprints to add to the frames once she leaves the NICU.
Eric’s message about COVID-19 has only been reinforced.
“Vaccinated or not vaccinated, just please take it seriously,” he said. “It’s deadly. My wife would still be here if we took it seriously.”
Emily’s ashes are currently in her family’s ancestral town in Mexico at the local Catholic Church. Eric said it was important to him to make sure she rested someplace holy. He hopes to take Carmen there when she’s older so they can then bring her ashes back to Fort Smith.
Eric said he is very grateful to everyone who has helped him during this time.