KIRKLAND, Wash. -- 90-year-old great, great, grandmother Geneva Wood is providing so many people hope – at a time we all could use some.
She beat coronavirus and has a message for all of us.
Wood has been on one scary journey. She suffered a stroke the day after Christmas and ended up at the Life Care Center of Kirkland for rehabilitation.
Just days away from being released, the facility was placed on lockdown as COVID-19 attacked resident after resident. 37 Life Care Center residents have lost their lives to date.
On March 5, Wood was rushed to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. She tested positive for the virus the next day.
"I didn’t want to eat. I didn’t want to do anything,” Wood said.
Worried she would not make it through another night, before the rules changed, doctors allowed her family to suit up in protective gear. One by one, the said their goodbyes to Geneva.
“We could hold her hand and stroke her arm," said Wood's daughter Cami Neidigh. "We weren’t allowed to hug. We could comfort her and talk to her. She could tell us whatever she wanted to tell us. And we all got a chance to say our goodbyes.”
Staring down death, Wood locked into what she valued most.
Her four children, 13 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, and three great, great-grandchildren. A family that became her fuel to live.
Wood said, “You must have faith and you can’t give up. You got to have a goal and I'm going to do it.”
She did it. Surviving that day, and another, until she was COVID-19 free.
Back in the arms of her loving daughters who were not ready to let go.
Geneva and her daughter Barbara after learning Geneva was COVID-19 free.
Geneva and her daughter Cami.
Her daughter Neidigh said, “She’s one stubborn old coot (laughs).”
Her mother chimed in, “I'd admit I’m stubborn and I’m a fighter and I have a lot to live for and a lot of things I want to do.”
At the top of that list, giving us a reason to believe that if we or our loved ones get this awful virus, we too can be like Geneva. She's not finished sharing advice, that may just save one of our lives.
“Keep up the courage," Wood said. "Don’t give up. Stay out of crowds. Wash their hands and keep up the faith."
Wood is now back home, where next month she'll celebrate her 91st birthday.