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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

Memphis family faces first Christmas without two loved ones

“This year we’re just staying away from anybody," said Wilford Barnes. "I don’t even want anybody to come to the house because of the seriousness of COVID.”

MEMPHIS, Tennessee — Losing loved ones is never easy but losing them during the holidays is especially tough.   

For one Memphis family, this is the first Christmas where they won’t have relatives gathered around the Christmas tree.   

It’s a particularly hard year for Wilford Barnes, he buried his mother Mary Alice Bolden-Pleasant back in November.  

She died from complications of COVID-19.   

“I have 10 brothers and sisters and we would actually go to Jackson, Mississippi and visit her and we all go down there and take gifts,” said Barnes.

But this year things are different.   

“This year we’re just staying away from anybody. I don’t even want anybody to come to the house because of the seriousness of COVID.”  

It’s the little acts of thoughtfulness Barnes said he misses the most about his mother.   

“She would call “Hello, Wilford” and if we don’t answer the phone, she would leave this crazy message.”  

Barnes’ sister, Loistean, also lost her daughter, Phyllis Biggs. She died a week before her grandmother who she helped care for. Biggs was never tested for the virus.   

“They just loved smiling all the time and just to look over just not see that,” Loistean said, tearing up. “But to not see that it kind of makes you feel kind of sad. But as I said before, I know she’s with the Lord.”  

The family shared that Biggs and her grandmother simply loved Christmastime, and though it’s difficult to not physically spend it with them, they have hope to see them both again.    

“Make sure that the one their loved one is saved in Christ that way you know where they’re going and it's going to be the best gift of all,” said Barnes.