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By Jorge L. Ortiz

As a longtime nurse who tended to cancer patients and has seen people die suddenly of traumatic injuries, Julie Anastas had made her peace with mortality.

That still didn’t prepare her for the horrifying experience of watching her mother dying of COVID-19, frightened and alone in a Boston hospital.

Anastas was in Florida at the time her mother’s illness took a sudden turn for the worse last December, and she vividly remembers their last conversation over FaceTime.

“She was so scared and said, ‘Please, don’t let me die,’” said Anastas, of Kingston, New Hampshire, as she fought back tears. “Oh, God, it was horrible. You could see the discoloration of her. She was turning gray. She was suffocating.

“The way my mother passed away and how she suffered at the end and was so scared, I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.”

Just as painful was the notion that her mother, Nadine DuBay-Crupi, declined to get vaccinated before the illness killed her at 72, as conspiracy theories and a fear of the vaccine proved more convincing than her doctor’s advice or her daughter’s exhortations.

Read More: USA Today (paywall)