GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — It happened fast and seemingly out of nowhere.
"It was a blur," says Bethany Bratt Patterson. "She wasn't under medical care for any pre-existing conditions."
Bratt Patterson's grandmother was diagnosed on a Sunday. She died four days later.
"Then a few days after that, my grandpa wasn't doing well," she says. "And then he passed just nine days after she did."
Don and Dorothy Bratt's 64 years of marriage ended with COVID-19.
Dorothy was never brought to the hospital before she died, but Don was. The family had to make a difficult choice once he got there.
"We did have to decide not to opt for a ventilator," explains Bratt Patterson. "He was on oxygen, but we knew if we put him on the ventilator given how bad it was for him, there's probably a younger person that had a better chance of making a full recovery versus him."
Their granddaughter describes them as caring and devoted family members who will be sorely missed. She believes their loving spirit is what the world needs right now.
"Part of their legacy of being loving towards everybody, you know, putting on a mask and taking these measures. It is an act of love," says Bratt Patterson. "It's being selfless and not selfish."
Bratt Patterson and her husband are both currently recovering from COVID themselves. And while she always knew the dangers of the virus, she says it didn't truly hit home until now. With the holidays approaching, she hopes people take a pause before gathering together.
"It's hard to skip a holiday," she says. "It's harder to bury your grandparents or bury a loved one."