Through her weary eyes, Luana tried to focus in the early morning light of Rio de Janeiro, on the text message she had woken up to. It was from her sister, back home in Australia.
"Bad news, Dad’s alive, but he’s either got three hours, or he’s got three days."
It was just a couple of months into the coronavirus crisis, and it had come to this. Their father suffered from Parkinson's disease, and with that came dementia. Prior to the pandemic, his family visited him everyday in his nursing home. But it had all changed so quickly.
“I knew Mum hadn't been able to see Dad for about six weeks because of the restrictions with the virus,” Luana, a New South Wales resident, told Mamamia. “I was so worried about Dad because people need people.
“I just knew he was probably going to die, because Mum wasn't visiting and he didn't understand why.”
That text message from her sister confirmed her fears.
A nurse offered to call her, to give her the opportunity to farewell her father.
“So, I said my goodbye over FaceTime,” Luana said through tears. “And then he died a couple of hours later.”
On April 26, Luana’s father passed away. She watched the funeral via live stream.
Luana, along with her husband, Victor, and their two children, who are eight and four years old, left Australia on March 1. At the time, COVID-19 had not been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. There was no travel warning. No grave coronavirus concerns outside of China.