US couple’s death in Fiji: American couple’s family tell of anguish of losing a loved one

David and Michelle Paul died of a mysterious illness while vacationing in Fiji. Picture: SUPPLIED/ABC News

If there is anyone who understands the pain and anguish of losing a loved one in an isolated hospital bed, it would have to be the family members of the late David and Michelle Paul.

The American couple were on holiday in Nadi when they both got sick and died in May last year to a mysterious illness.

David’s sister, Rebecca Ward, said both families completely grasped the feelings of helplessness that COVID-19 victims’ families were going through.

“It has been almost a year since we lost my brother and sister-in-law,” said Ms Ward.

“I know what it’s like to not be able to see your loved one while they lay dying in a hospital bed — that part was probably the hardest of all.

“I would lie in bed crying as I couldn’t get the picture out of my head of my – brother all by himself in a hospital not being able to talk to us because he was on a ventilator.”

Ms Ward said going through the outpouring of grief and heartbreak on social media of family members who had lost loved ones behind sterilised hospital doors, cut off from any physical reassurance that they were not alone as they battled for their lives, had been devastating.

“So as I am reading and seeing other families go through this, it absolutely breaks my heart.

“I’m not trying to shame anyone that isn’t taking this seriously, because it is a hard thing to understand and we have never been through it before.

“I will tell you though, it is extremely traumatic knowing your family member is in a hospital and not being able to be with them.

“I don’t want you to have to experience that so please take my word on it.

“It’s OK if you don’t understand it or even agree with the actions being taken to help prevention, but maybe, for this one you can bite your tongue a little and realise that your inconvenience is not near as bad as being haunted by the image of your loved one lying by themselves in a hospital bed, not for lack of you wanting to be beside them but because you can’t.

“As always, praying daily for those that are risking their own health every day to fight this battle. Lord be with us all.”

As of yesterday, more than one million people have been infected by COVID-19 across the world and in excess of 60,000 people have lost their lives.

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