Cleveland family needs help carrying out final wishes of mother of 5 who died of COVID-19 just days before Christmas

Mother of five dies of COVID-19 just days before Christmas; family needs help to carryout funeral

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Just days before Christmas, a Cleveland family suffered a devastating loss due to COVID-19.

As the family grieves, they’re trying to find the money to properly lay a loved one to rest.

With tears rolling down her cheeks, India Reese of Cleveland grieves the loss of her mother and wants to fulfill her final wishes.

“All I want for Christmas is to bury my mother. That’s all I want to do,” she said.

Marilyn Carolyn Reese of Cleveland tested positive for the virus on Dec. 15 and died just three days later at University Hospital Ahuja Medical Center in Beachwood.

The mother of five’s oldest daughter, Mahasha Reese, was told by doctors she only had 30 minutes and two options to determine how her mother would take her last breath.

“They said it in a sense that I needed to make a decision immediately because they knew for a fact she wasn’t going to make it through the night. She wasn’t going to make it to the morning,” Mahasha Reese told 19 News.

Then, Marilyn’s two daughters said their goodbyes to their mother on Zoom.

Her three sons were too devastated to see her that way.

“One thing I have to say about these essential workers, these nurses is they held her hand for the two hours that we said goodbye. And I’m so thankful she wasn’t there alone,” Mahasha said.

But the Reese family has had little time to grieve properly.

They’re determined to raise $8200 by noon on Dec. 31 in order to hold a funeral service and burial for their mother by Jan. 2.

Marilyn made it clear she wanted to be buried next to her father.

“I thought about my mom and what she would do in this situation if she had to bury one of us. I made flyers and condolence boxes. I decorated all of them pretty, and I’ve been standing outside of Walmart, then I went to a truck stop and went truck to truck asking people to help me bury my mom. And that’s one of the hardest things I ever had to do in my life,” India said.

However, the family isn’t even half-way to their goal, and they’re on a mission to do whatever they can in the name of a woman who tried hard to get insurance in the event of her death.

But, her family said she was a double amputee with diabetes and kidney failure.

Those pre-existing conditions kept that from happening.

Mahasha said, “I know it’s hard times for everyone right now, but I’m asking because I know there’s a lot of love out there. At the end of the day, your dollars will go toward being able to honor a woman’s final wishes, and she would probably have done anything to help you.”

19 News confirmed that Cummings and Davis Funeral Home on Euclid Avenue received Marilyn Reese’s body and that about $8200 is needed to do the funeral and burial.

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