TULSA, Okla. — One of the somber realities of the pandemic is the loss of lives. Many have lost family members, others friends, and some both.
“(It's) Heartbreak losing people left and right and that’s both sides of the family...and then the friends we grew up with,” Kimberly Holmes said.
Holmes lost more relatives than she can count with her hands. She is the property manager for the Mental Health Association of Oklahoma, where she helps people going through tough times in life.
“When we have people at the apartments and they see that they don’t have love or no one comes visit them because a lot of times people can’t handle people with a mental illness or addiction, or whatever they’re going through...or have fear because you know, they’re out of prison now...they’re not the same, and the association gives them second chances,” Holmes said.
She relates to the residents with whom she works because she's no stranger to life's hardships. Like a warrior, she's fought every battle life presented to her.
“I had a lot of abuse in my life and my background, and I thank God for the changes that have happened in my life to get me to where I am,” Holmes said.
However, the battle against COVID-19 has been unlike any other she's endured. COVID-19 has been tough on Kimberly Holmes and her family. She contracted the virus twice and recovered. In addition to impacting her health, the virus took the lives of loved ones. In one year, she's lost 20 relatives to the virus.
“That was a tragedy all right there, and then you find out that everybody starts popping out positive left and right, you know...it was crazy, and we started losing cousins, friends that I grew up with, family members that I had,” she said.
Holmes said the losses have been painful because the pandemic made it hard to give loved ones the celebration of life they deserve.
“That was a tragedy all right there, and then you find out that everybody starts popping out positive left and right, you know...it was crazy and we started losing cousins, friends that I grew up with, family members that I had," she said.
She said the toughest loss she's experienced was of those who saw her grow up.
“I’ve lost cousins, I’ve lost my aunt, and uncle, I’ve lost two more aunts and uncles, but the closest that really hit me in my immediate family was my brother and then my aunt Rhoda because she helped take care of me,” Holmes said.
The fight against COVID doesn't seem to be over for her family. Now, her husband and son are battling the virus. They were not vaccinated, but are recovering. Her uncle currently has COVID-19 too, but was vaccinated and is recovering.
Holmes said the somber reality is hard to process and at times takes a toll on her mental health.
“It has taken a lot, I mean it’s draining, like I try to keep things and be tough and not show things, but it’s getting to where it’s starting to come out and that’s where I know that I have to release," she said.
Through it all she's remained steadfast in her faith, which she said has helped her conquer this season of grief.
“I’m just going to be honest with everybody, my faith in the Lord is what’s got me through all this, and I thank God that I was raised that way because it has helped me to deal with my family because you know the way we believe, you know, if they were saved, they’re going to go to heaven and that gives me comfort,” Holmes said.
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