COVID-19 has been a never-ending source of hardship and pain for families affected by the virus.
It has been especially tough for those separated from their loved ones as their health declines while in hospital.
Daniel Dako knows that reality all too well.
On Dec. 11, his 73-year-old father Samuel died from COVID-19.
“This is one of the hardest things we’ve ever, as a family, had to go through,” Daniel said.
It’s been one week since Daniel buried his father at Glen Oak Cemetery in Oakville.
Samuel was admitted to hospital in November, and his health quickly deteriorated.
Samuel Dako was retired, healthy, and active.
Alongside his wife of 47 years, he had three children, two grandchildren, and was an avid volunteer.
Early in November, Samuel started having difficulty breathing.
A trip to the hospital confirmed he had COVID-19.
Daniel said from the beginning, he felt his father would be strong enough to survive.
“I honestly didn’t think that was going to be the end,” Daniel said.
Samuel was admitted to hospital and given oxygen.
A few weeks later he was transferred to the ICU.
More than anything, his family wanted to stay by his side. However, hospital rules prevented that from happening.
“We tried to call the hospital and find out about visitation and we were told very simply no, due to COVID,” Daniel said.
Daniel clearly remembers the last conversation he had with his father by phone.
His father told him that he was having trouble breathing, and despite medical attention, it was not getting better.
“He told me, ‘I need you to step up to be strong for the family,’ and I told him, I said ‘I will try,’“ Daniel said through tears.
Soon after that conversation, Samuel was placed on a ventilator.
On Dec. 11, he died in the ICU.
His family was allowed in the hospital after the breathing tube was removed in order to say goodbye, but they wish they could have been there for the weeks leading up to that moment.
“That’s what I apologise to my dad for the most,” Daniel told Global News. “I wasn’t there for him, and I know he needed me, and I just couldn’t be there.”
Daniel hopes his family’s story helps other people take the pandemic seriously.
It’s not clear how Samuel got COVID-19, but his family is now painfully aware of the consequences.