Everyday we see stories around the world about how COVID-19 has impacted communities. As Upper Valley Strong, we find it’s important to provide a space for locals to share their own stories. Eric Gilbert, a Vershire resident, lost two of his loved ones to COVID-19. He wanted to share his story with us in hopes that it would inspire others in his community to take precautions and stay safe during this time.
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“March 8th was the last time I got to see my grandmother.
It was my mother’s birthday so I went and visited her in the nursing home and video-ed with my mother. It was the same day I took a picture with her in my fire gear. That was the one thing she remembered with her dementia was that I always wanted to be in the fire department.
My name is Eric Gilbert. I live on Kingdom Road in Vershire. I’ve lived here in Vershire since 2017, but I’ve been coming since I was a kid. I work at Rivendell Academy full time as maintenance and custodial and also on three different fire departments, Vershire, West Fairlee and Orford, NH.
My mother-in-law was in the rehab center because she had a knee replacement and figured she was safe. We got the call that day that she had tested positive and was being sent to the hospital. Within a couple of days she was put in the ICU on a ventilator and then they induced induced her into a coma. This way her lungs and everything wouldn’t have to work as hard.
My wife worked at the hospital that she was at so they allowed her to put the PPE gear on and go in and see her. She wasn’t gone 10 minutes and my mother-in-law went into cardiac arrest and you know it, they did everything for about a half an hour and just nothing they could do. Never had a heart condition. You know, I mean she did have epilepsy but other than that there was nothing else and… So it’s like you know you think they’re safe because they’re in these places and locked down and it’s just the opposite.
My grandma called me on a Saturday, told me she tested positive. Her temperature was a little over 104 and by the time she got to the hospital that night her body temperature dropped down below ninety. You know, they asked me if I wanted to put her on a ventilator. It was against her wishes, so I told them no. You know… have her save the ventilator for somebody who might be able to use it. They were gonna keep her warm with warm towels. About four or 5 hours later, I got the call that she passed away.
Unfortunately… The only way I could say goodbye was the doctor called me from his cellphone on a video call. And that’s how you get to say goodbye to them.
First of all, I don’t want people to be scared. I mean it’s a scary situation, but I’m not coming across as trying to make them be scared. You know, just wear your masks, wash your hands, use hand sanitizer, stay six feet apart.
You know, niece she goes well, “you’re gonna come down for Christmas?” It all depends on how the virus is going. And if I have to stay here, then that’s what I’m gonna do. Because I know what the repercussions are, what the long term results are.
So that’s… I just beg people, please, you know wear a mask. You know, stay six feet apart. Let’s make the sacrifice now for better times in the future.
It’s simple. Just let’s do it all together.”