My sister-in-law held my hand and whispered, 'I want to hug you but I can't'
Aya, an Egyptian who lost her mother due to coronavirus on this mother's day. Her mother was among Egypt's first 10 coronavirus deaths.
Even though her mother had been poorly for a week, Aya never thought this would be the end. She recalls collapsing upon hearing the news.
"I told my brother he was lying. He told me earlier that she was getting better," Aya says, reports BBC.
The 69-year-old had been at a private hospital since Monday of that week when she first tested negative for coronavirus before repeating the test a couple of days later, Aya says.
"The last time I spoke to her was on Tuesday… I was with my dad all the time as he had a coronary stenting procedure on Sunday."
Later, her dad was also found positive.
Not being able to say goodbye was not the only challenge for Aya.
On the same day of Aya's mother's death, all prayers and sermons were suspended across the country. All mosques were ordered to shut down as well.
So, Aya found herself forced to perform the funeral prayers inside the hospital's mortuary.
The process of getting her mother's body out of the hospital took a long time, so they only managed to bury her at night, she says.
"Very few family members came. We were all wearing masks and gloves.
My sister-in-law held my hand and whispered, 'I want to hug you but I can't'.
My brother's mother-in-law was devastated. But none of us could comfort the other."
"My dad couldn't say goodbye to mum as well. He attended the burial but he hadn't seen her for a week".
Her father made a recovery and returned home this past weekend.
Although neither Aya nor her brother tested positive, they both had to stay in isolation.
"As a family, we couldn't even be there for each other. My mum is a martyr" she said.
Egypt announced the presence of Covid-19 in mid-February, it was not until the first week of March when the country started seeing new cases regularly. So far, more than 2,000 people in Egypt have been infected and at least 160 have died with the disease.