“We have such guilt and burden for everything,” she said, “Knowing that everyone gets sick is harder than losing my father.”
Schindler says about 30 people who attended her father’s July 13 funeral in Lake Park were either tested positive for COVID-19 or were currently symptomatic. She says five of her close family members have been hospitalized.
Stephanie Schindler (left) with her parents Francis and Anne Perrault. Stephanie says her father would hate that so many people got sick after attending his funeral. Photo sent
The death of 78-year-old Francis Perrault of Lake Lake was not unexpected.
“He had a stroke and Parkinson’s disease, so we lost him day after day,” Schindler said of his father.
About 50 people also attended the funeral on July 12th and 13th at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church on the lake.
Fargo’s longtime friend Kathleen Keane was one of them. She says she and her husband Carl thought about COVID but chose to go to the funeral.
“I just felt like, there’s no way I’m going to miss this. I have to take a risk. “I knew I was taking a risk,” Keane said. “But you know, it’s one of those things in life where you’re just like that, I have to be there for her.” She has been my friend for 40 years or more. “
Keane, who says she has hardly left the house since March, when the pandemic began, said she was happy when the church took precautions.
“During the service, almost everyone wore a mask and we were all somehow separated from each other,” Keane said. “And they have compartments in the shelves.”
But Keane says social distancing and wearing masks “fell apart” after the service, during the funeral and coffee and donut classes.
“People relaxed, took off their masks and arranged chairs for everyone to sit together,” Keane said.
Father Bob LaPlant, a priest at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, said he was interested in how close people are after the service.
“I don’t think one or two people came to the funeral feeling well,” he said. “That’s what they always say, if you’re not feeling well, stay home.”
Carl and Kathleen Keane of Fargo believed they had COVID while attending a funeral in Lake Park, Minnesota. It is estimated that at least 14 people also tested positive after the July 13 gathering. Photo sent
The calls came
Schindler says she heard the first person fall ill on Tuesday after her father’s funeral over the weekend, after which the word continued to spread to more people who were at the funeral or prayer service, complaining of symptoms of COVID-19. Schindler herself was not feeling well.
“I thought I was just exhausted because I had planned the funeral so much, but over the days, I knew it was worse,” she said.
Stephanie Schindler (left) with her family, daughter Sofia, husband Dale and daughter Savannah. Stephanie, Dale and Savannah tested positive for COVID-19. Sofia was never tested, but she had mild symptoms, so Stephanie believes she had one too. Photo sent
Schindler tested positive, as did her mother, husband, and eldest daughter, Savannah. Her younger daughter Sofia has never been tested, but Schindler believes she had one too. Fortunately, their cases were relatively minor. The same cannot be said for many other family members. Schindler says her daughter-in-law is in the intensive care unit in Arizona, her brother is hospitalized in Seattle, and two aunts are in the hospital in Grand Forks.
“And now my uncle has just been transferred from the Grand Forks Hospital in Fargo because there was no room there, and now there may be blood clots,” she said.
At Fargo, Keane tested positive for the virus at the same time as his best friend. She says the last two weeks have been like “one, long asthma attack” combined with extreme lethargy, headaches, nausea, brain fog and stabbing pains in the head, abdomen and even legs.
“I think I had all the symptoms of COVID except the rash,” Keane said of her 14-day trial, which was nothing she had experienced before.
“I woke up with the worst body pain I’ve ever had. It was so intense and I went back to sleep, “Keane said.” I woke up and felt a ton of bricks on me and I had a fever. “
Keane Carl’s husband also tested positive.
“What did we do wrong?”
The Minnesota Department of Health has reported an increased level of community transmission recently associated with social events, which in turn poses an increased risk to long-term care, schools, and jobs.
“We have church gatherings, including funerals, among those places where we’ve traced recent outbreaks,” Minnesota Department of Health Information Officer Doug Schultz said when he contacted the lake’s funeral. “We can’t name them, because that would identify the people who are affected, and the people who are sick and their close contacts know who they are.”
Stephanie Schindler sits in front of her home on Wednesday, August 5, in rural Lake Park, Min. She caught COVID-19 during or after attending a funeral in Lake Park. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
Schindler says she went through everything she had to do differently.
“I think one of our biggest no-no’s is that we had people stay here with us and stay with my mother,” she said. “You know you’re wearing your mask, but after a while you take off your masks and you just feel like family. But you carry everything with you. “
And, she says, there were some people who didn’t wear masks at all.
“My father was a truck driver and I don’t think I saw any of his drivers’ friends wearing masks,” Schindler said.
For his part, Keane wore his mask even at the more relaxed social gathering after the funeral, but admitted that he ignored social distancing more than he should have.
“I hugged my friend. I made the choice. I made the jump. “I haven’t hugged anyone since March except my family here,” Keane said. “I hugged her brothers, her mother, my cousin, and that was it,” she said.
Keane says she hasn’t spoken to anyone in a long time, but she remembers touching her face to wipe away her tears.
“That’s the problem with funerals,” Schindler said. “There will be happy tears and there will be sad tears. I’ve seen people wipe their eyes, but I don’t think any of us have taken the time to wash our hands afterwards. “
Words for advice
Keane and Schindler come forward with this story to encourage everyone to take COVID-19 seriously.
Keane says it all happened so fast. She felt like she had just slipped once, not as vigilant as she had been in the last few months. But, she says, that’s all it takes. She becomes emotional when she talks about how people take unnecessary chances.
“Seeing the Hairball concert in West Fargo (last weekend) with 2,000 people, I saw a man with a mask in the picture and it just bothers me to the end,” Keane said. “You know, so many people go to take this home to their parents or grandparents or take it around and it just bothers me.”
Her thoughts echo from the health department.
“It’s important to remember that any gathering of people who are not from the same household, where people do not wear masks or social distances, is a potential source of the virus,” Schultz said. “Please wear your mask, stay six feet away from the next person, cover your cough and sneeze, wash your hands and stay home if you are sick.”
Keane says that while she is being repaired, she is still feeling the effects of COVID-19, but she is looking forward to being active again and continuing with her life. She says she estimates that her Essentia Health nurse still calls to check on her every day, but hopes these conversations are not needed soon.
Kathleen Keane on the 11th day of the COVID-19 virus, calling it “the worst virus I’ve ever had.” She insists that people take him seriously, wear masks and observe social distancing. Photo sent
LaPlante, whose church has taken measures to prevent the spread, has advice for people who still want to gather in a church or other social space.
“We have to be so careful,” he said. “I don’t know why people don’t take this more seriously.”
And now Schindler is dealing not only with the death of his father and the hospitalization of close family members, but also with many “what ifs.”
“We kept saying that Dad would be so upset that people got sick at his funeral,” she said. “Of course we are so grateful to everyone who came. There was so much sharing and healing, but we feel like, what if they were just Skyped? This may not have happened. ”