Retired public school teacher Lucia Taijeron Pascua, of Dededo, was a woman of faith, known for putting others before herself.
Pascua, 64, taught math at Benavente Middle School before she retired from the Guam Department of Education in 2019.
"She was really a caring person," said Christopher Taijeron, Lucia's younger brother. "Very thoughtful of other people, and she wants everybody to learn about Jesus. She was a pastor at a Christian church." Pascua was a pastor at Micronesia Miracle Church.
On Sept. 8, Lucia became the island's 19th life claimed by COVID-19.
"It really shocked my family because she is very nice to everyone," he said. "I think it was part of COVID and her lungs closing up. Maybe, it's part of the COVID that took her away. Instead of her getting better, it just collapsed everything."
Taijeron, 58, recalled his last days with his older sister.
"I was able to see her because I had to come and pick her up from the floor when she fell," he said.
That was the weekend before Lucia tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Taijeron said she didn't feel the need to see a doctor at the time.
"She didn't want to go because she said she was fine. I told her she better go because she had a big bump on her forehead. I told her to get it checked because it was kind of scary," he said.
On Aug. 25, he said, Lucia drove herself to dialysis.
"The nurse who saw her head said she better get herself checked."
She then went to Guam Regional Medical City, where doctors confirmed she had COVID-19.
Lucia was transferred to Guam Memorial Hospital that day.
"Me and my brother-in-law went to GRMC and the nurse told us she tested positive and they brought her to GMH," Taijeron said. "From there, we went to GMH and they said we couldn't see her. None of the family members could go in to see her. Even her husband couldn't see her."
He said the hospital later called for them to pick up Lucia's belongings and the keys to her car, which was still parked at the dialysis clinic.
'I couldn't do anything'
Taijeron said he went to check on Lucia's husband at their Dededo home the following day.
"The next day, my brother-in-law, when I came (to his home), he was breathing hard as I woke him up. So, I brought him to get tested at FHP. We went there and they did the testing. The doctor called me and said to bring him to GMH because it's faster testing there," he said. "I told him if he goes to GMH that he was not going to come back, and that he was going to stay there and be on lockdown."
Taijeron found out his brother-in-law tested positive, as well, and was admitted to GMH.
"I couldn't do anything," he said. "He was already low on his oxygen and breathing hard, and his body was aching. That's why he had me take him to the doctor to get tested."
Nearly a week later, Lucia's husband was given the heartbreaking news from his hospital bed that his wife didn't survive.
"It was the doctor that told him and I was hoping that nobody would tell him yet. He knew his wife was there, but his wife didn't know that he was there. When the doctor told him, he just went downhill," Taijeron said. "So, they put him on a ventilator to get more oxygen."
As of Tuesday, Taijeron said his brother-in-law was still in the hospital.
"He is trying to recover. Right now, he is not doing really good, but we are just praying he will kick out of this thing and survive. I just hope now that my brother-in-law will get better."
Taijeron said the family is still waiting for GMH to contact them to find out their next steps. He said his sister, as with others who died after contracting the virus, will be cremated.
"I feel sad because I wasn't able to contact her, to be with her, and to keep her company," he said. "Me and my son had to get tested, as well, because we were lifting her up that day."
While he said they both tested negative for COVID, Taijeron reminds the community of just how serious the virus is after it hit so close to home for his family.
"Just hope that everybody takes care and just stay safe, and follow the protocols to wear your mask, wash your hands, and keep your distance," he said. "Be careful out there, because it's really hitting us."