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Our Mikey, Dad and Papa, Michael Perna, passed away from COVID-19 on April 19th 2020. He was the strongest man I knew and the foundation to our beautiful family.

He started to feel symptoms many days prior to his passing and we tried to treat him at home and help him get better. Since he wasn’t improving, his doctor ordered for him to go to the hospital so that he can be monitored. My mom, dad and I drove him to the hospital. He looked confused and lost and a part of me now looking back had a bad feeling. I kissed his forehead as I said see you later. It was the most stressful scary next couple of days as my grandpa battled COVID alone in the hospital. I know he was confused and didn’t know what was happening. The nurses and staff were as helpful as they could be and allowed our family to FaceTime my grandpa every couple of days. It was great to see his face. It was so hard to not be there with him, we knew he didn’t remember that visitors were not allowed and I am sure he felt that we left him in the hospital. It was a battle to have a doctor speak to us to update us on his prognosis, no one would return our calls or was able to give us information. Looking back now, I realized the hospitals were so so overwhelmed so I believe they were doing the best they could do. So many families didn’t get to say goodbye to their loved ones. So many families didn’t get to speak to their loved ones for days. The last time I spoke to my grandpa, he told me to “pick me up.” My heart broke. All I wanted to do was pick him up but I knew I couldn’t. My heart still breaks to his day thinking about this. I live with this guilt everyday.

My family is completely broken. We all live with the guilt of bringing my grandpa to the hospital and him not coming home. I never thought when the 2020 year started it would come to this.

Every moment your life is precious, your life is a gift. Do not take a moment for granted. Tell your family you love them and hug them. Don’t second guess any moment you have with them thinking you were somewhere else. Love your loved ones with your whole heart.

We miss you and love you so much Papa. We see and feel your beautiful smile and hug when the sun shines so bright ♥

– Alissa Femia, New York

Elder smiling