The granddaughter of Quebec’s first COVID-19 victim took to social media Thursday with a heartfelt plea to Quebecers, urging them to follow the recommendations made by government authorities.
“Show good citizenship, social responsibility and stay at home,” Bibianne Lavallée wrote on Facebook.
Quebec Premier François Legault confirmed the province’s first death due to the virus on Wednesday.
The government has rolled out several measures aimed at reducing the spread of novel coronavirus including repeated calls for people to stay home and practice social distancing.
Lavallée is adding her voice to the chorus on behalf of her family in the hopes of saving lives and to give meaning to their loss.
“We didn’t have time to save my grandmother, but you have the chance to make a difference, now that we know the damage caused by this pandemic,” she wrote.
Lavallée said her grandmother, 82, was in poor health and had respiratory problems.
“She was easy prey for the virus under the circumstances,” she said, explaining her grandmother became ill before any measures were put in place to protect against the spread of the illness. It was before the daily updates by Legault’s team.
“A time when children still went to school. Where planes flew in the sky. Where you could do your groceries without a knot in your stomach. There were even people going on vacation,” she continued.
“Imagine…it seems like so long ago, but it was less than a week,” Lavallée said.
Lavallée described her grandmother as the pillar of the family, a kind-hearted woman who was well-liked in her community.
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The most heartbreaking for Lavallée is knowing that the family matriach died alone, in isolation.
“We would have liked to be able to hold her hand, comfort her, whisper softly in her ear, but we did not have the chance.”
The family will not be providing further public comments and has asked to be able to mourn their loss privately.
Lavallée’s full statement is below.
Our grandmother was a loving woman — and was loved by everyone. She was the mother of four girls, the grandmother of 9 grandchildren, and the great-grandmother of 9, soon to be 10, great-great-grandchildren. She was a face well-known and appreciated in our small community, our beautiful village of Lavaltrie. At 82 years old, she was in precarious health and had respiratory problems. That said, she inspired by her lucidity, her kindness, her generosity, and her sharing nature. She was the pillar of my large and beautiful family… In addition to instilling the values in us that will unite us forever.
Today, my family and I are crying about her departure. It is too sudden and too quick; we’re never ready to say goodbye to those we love. One spring day, this virus attacked her, an easy prey under the circumstances.
It was before. Before Quebec was plunged into this infernal whirlpool. This re-organization of society. It was before we were getting the information daily from the hand of the master and the team of Mr. Legault. It was before we knew the scale of the planetary situation. It was a time when everyone worried about their preoccupations as if there was nothing wrong. It was a time when children still went to school. Where planes flew in the sky. Where we went to the grocery store without having a knot in our stomach. There were even people who talked about going on vacation! Imagine… it feels like it was so long ago, but it was less than a week.
Unfortunately, at the time when all the measures were announced and taken, it was too late to save my grandmother. When her diagnosis came back, she’d already been condemned. This caring woman who had always been surrounded by family lived her last days isolated from us and that breaks our heart. We would’ve liked to have held her hand, to comfort her, to speak softly in her ear, but we didn’t get the chance.
That is why my family is united in imploring Quebecers, and the entire world, to follow the recommendations put out by the authorities, to show civility, social responsibility and to stay home. We didn’t get the chance to save Gramma. But we have a chance to make a difference now that we know; now that we know the damage caused by this pandemic. We have to try everything to avoid that the human drama like the one we’re living through multiplies. We want the death of my grandmother, the first victim in Quebec of COVID-19, to help save lives.
I ask that you leave us, me and my family, to mourn privately. That’s why this message will be the only public comment, there will be no interviews given. It is a period that will be extremely hard to get through for us all, especially considering that we can’t go through it together, as a family.
The entire family of Mariette Tremblay