Kentucky family mourns after losing 3 members to COVID-19


The Cheathams say they were careful, wore masks and gloves but couldn’t escape the deadly grasp of COVID-19.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — For the Cheatham family, Christmas week has always been special.

The holiday is usually spent at mom and dad’s, and this year the tradition will continue except without mom or dad. 

“It’s unreal to walk in the door and they’re not here. You keep waiting for them to pop around the corner and they’re not,” daughter Jama Allen said. 

Sisters Jama and Jessica describe the last three weeks as a blur, after losing their mom, dad and grandfather to COVID-19. 

“If you would’ve told me that COVID would wipe out half of the family that we have left, I would have been like no you’re joking,” Allen said. 

On November 29th, the family said goodbye to their grandpa, who was diagnosed with COVID before Thanksgiving. Twelve days later, the sisters watched their mom say goodbye to their dad.

Allen said, “It was beautiful and it was painful at the same time — to watch my parents.” 

Married for 40 years, Allen said their mom couldn’t imagine a life without her husband and a short three days after that, the sisters saw their mom take her final breath.

“We got to the point where it was like how did it get this bad?”, Jessica Cheatham said. 

They said their parents were careful and only left the house for work or church. “They always wore their masks, they always had hand sanitizer in the car, and gloves, they wore gloves everywhere they went,” Cheatham described.

But after being diagnosed COVID positive, their parents went downhill quick and strict hospital policies made those final weeks even more difficult.

“The first night I was really scared to leave them so I slept out in the car in the garage because I wanted to be nearby,” Cheatham remembered. 

Now, the sisters are sharing their story ahead of a holiday week when they fear many may start to relax the rules.

“Personally I could’ve went one Christmas without seeing my parents but now we spend the rest of the lives without ours. So I would maybe take that into consideration. It’s one Christmas. One Christmas and then you can spend all the Christmases together. Some people have an option and we don’t.” 

Lisa and Mark Cheatham were buried Saturday after a combined funeral service in their hometown of Campbellsville.

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