SUNY Oswego student mourns death of loved one to COVID-19

OSWEGO, N.Y.– COVID-19 has dramatically affected the world in less than a year killing nearly 900 thousand and infecting more than 27-million people. 

“We grew up with her and her kids and we were raised like family. She was like my aunt and her kids are like my cousins. We were just always so close to each other,” SUNY Oswego student Gabriele Candela said after she was directly impacted by the loss of a loved one, Lori Elia, due to Covid-19 complications.

Candela feels her loss everyday. 

“It’s definitely affected us on the daily,” Candela said. “I mean my mom was on the phone with her every single day, they worked together and they were always texting each other.”

Losing a loved one is always hard. It’s even harder when you’re not able to be by their side in their final moments. 

“It was definitely very hard that we didn’t get a formal goodbye. I mean it all just happened within like two weeks,” Candela said. “We had no idea that this was coming, and just not even being able to go to the hospital and say our goodbyes.” 

In such a difficult time both emotionally and financially, Lori’s daughter Danielle set up a GoFundMe page for her mother to help pay for funeral costs and hospital bills. 

“Lori’s daughter set that up while she was in the hospital, and then we just got the word out sharing it,” Candela said. “We just really pushed that out there to help out the family as much as possible because it was a rough time.”

Now back at college, Gabriele urges her campus community to do what’s right, because she’s seen the negative consequences of this virus. 

“You see a different side of it, and when it hits home it just hits so different and you want everyone to understand it from your point of view,” Candela said. “Especially just being around college kids and what not, who just don’t care as much, it’s just hard because you’ve seen the worst of it.”

The impact Lori Elia had on the Candela family is one that will never be forgotten. It’s proof that family doesn’t always have to be blood, Candela said.