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Long-married Louisiana couple dies of COVID-19, pneumonia days apart

Published: Dec. 17, 2020 at 12:07 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB/Gray News) - If you need an example as to why getting the COVID-19 vaccine out is so important, look no further.

Mandy Erwin of Livingston Parish lost both of her parents to COVID-19 and pneumonia just days apart from one another, she told WAFB.

She wanted to tell her story in her way. You won’t see her face in the video above, but you can hear of her loss.

“And I don’t think anybody should have to bury their parents together,” said Mandy Erwin, the daughter of Gordan and Brenda Cowart.

Brenda and her husband Gordan, also known as “Bubbie,” were the owners of Pretty N Pink Florist in Livingston Parish for more than 45 years.

“My dad actually delivered the flowers for her, (Brenda) so most people knew my dad better than my mom. Because she was the face of the florist, but everybody who got flowers got them from my dad,” said Erwin.

On Nov. 1, Brenda Cowart was diagnosed with coronavirus. Days later she was admitted to Ochsner Baton Rouge.

She did go home for one day, but was back in the hospital the next morning with COVID-related pneumonia.

“Two and a half weeks later, she was put on the ventilator, and it went progressively down from there. Once she was on the ventilator, she was sedated and paralyzed and never got strong enough. And it seems every day we had a whole new problem,” said Erwin.

Just days after she was re-admitted to the hospital, her husband Bubbie was diagnosed, then later hospitalized with the exact same illnesses as his wife.

“It just feels like for 5 weeks I lived a nightmare,” said Erwin.

Brenda Cowart died on Thanksgiving Day.

“My dad on the other hand, once my mom passed away on Thanksgiving, he did not want to be put on a ventilator. He was changed to a DNR (do not resuscitate), because he did not want to live without her. And so he gave up at that point, just didn’t want to fight, didn’t want to live. Told me every day that he was ready to go. But he progressively, because of the virus, got worse,” said Mandy.

Bubbie died less than a week after the love of his life for more 52 years left this earth.

“One part of me thinks that had she still been alive, he would’ve fought to be with her. But once she passed, he had no hope,” said Erwin.

She is one of many suffering a loss during the holidays, and has a message to others.

“I will tell you from somebody who lived it, who lived the nightmare, it’s very real. And it will and can devastate even healthy people. I would never wish this on anybody,” said Erwin.

Erwin has seen the devastation this virus can cause, as the owner of a primary health care facility in Livingston Parish.

Bubbie has a 92-year-old mother who is still alive. The pair is survived by their children and grandchildren, whom they loved very much.

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