SEATTLE - It’s been a year since the announcement of the first United States COVID-19 death, which happened in King County.
For the Krueger family, that also marks one year since their mother, Marion, died.
On Feb. 29, 2020, King County officials held a press conference announcing the first death in the U.S. from COVID-19.
While many folks realized the seriousness of this new virus for the first time following this press conference, the Krueger family already was dealing with a major loss.
"We didn’t know that it was the COVID until the test was ordered. So, it was three or four days after she died that they discovered," said Mike Krueger, Marion's son.
Marion was the first reported female death of COVID-19 in the United States.
Krueger said his mom was rehabbing at the Life Care Center in Kirkland after breaking a bone.
Krueger and his family had no reason to think they were not going to see their mom again.
"She died alone," he said.
Marion's daughter, Kerry, said because their mom was one of the first deaths from COVID-19, it created difficulties.
"Dealing with people, either, particularly, early on who denied it, who said it was the flu, who just said, you know, she’s old, so, she should die," said Kerry Krueger.
A year later, hope is on the horizon. The state has distributed more than 1.5 million doses of the vaccine, and on Saturday, the new Johnson and Johnson vaccine received approval.
The Krueger family is separated by hundreds of miles across the United States. COVID-19 also makes it a challenge for them to be together. However, on the one-year mark of their mother’s death, they still got together, on a ZOOM call, to honor their mother’s life.
Mike Krueger said he hopes their loss will remind folks what is most important.
"Don’t let a present moment become a memory without enjoying it," he said.