Family that lost 2 brothers to COVID-19 says 3rd sibling now has virus
BATON ROUGE - A family mourning the loss of two brothers to coronavirus-related complications says their other sibling has tested positive for the virus.
Willie “W-L” Jefferson, 86, and Saymon Jefferson, 94, were each hospitalized for at least two weeks while suffering from the virus. Originally, Willie had tested positive and Saymon tested negative for coronavirus. That negative test result was later determined to be a misdiagnosis, according to family members.
Both had pre-existing medical conditions and both were using ventilators at the hospital. Willie and Saymon died a little less than a week apart from each other.
“I called my father and first asked how he was doing. And told him I loved him, and then I said, 'look, Uncle Double L didn’t make it,'” Eric Jefferson said.
Eric said his father, 83-years-old Joe Jr., hadn’t been around his brothers in about a month. On Monday, April 6, the family told WBRZ that Joe had also tested positive for the virus.
Last week, Eric said the recent tragedies had pushed his father to get tested himself.
“He didn’t possess any of the symptoms when the first one passed, so the doctor just told him to quarantine. But now since he’s had another loved one [pass away], they’re going test him now. And I'm praying that he comes back negative,” Eric Jefferson said.
Eric said making that phone call to his father was the hardest thing he’s ever had to do. And being able to not tell him in person made it that much harder.
“You’re not going to call a loved one over the phone and tell them they just lost someone that means deeply to them. You’re gonna run over there. You want to be there for them. You can’t do that,” Eric Jefferson said.
Willie’s visitation was held on Wednesday and his funeral the following day. Only a limited number of family members were able to attend because of restrictions put in place to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.
“Then to the point of yesterday, we’re going to the tent at the funeral home. You’re distancing from your family members that you haven’t seen in a long time, and you can’t even greet them. And you come home from that, and then you get another call that your other loved one has passed.
And then you have to turn around and make that other call your father that he’s now lost another loved one,” Eric Jefferson said.
Saymon, a WWII veteran, also passed away from coronavirus complications on Wednesday night.
“He was just a rock. If you saw him you would have never imagined that he was 94. And that’s for both of them… They were in remarkable health,” Eric Jefferson said.
Eric said that COVID-19 has also claimed the life of a close friend that he worked with for decades.
“I had a co-worker that I worked with for 30 years at Georgia-Pacific, Christopher Hollins. He passed, 58-years-old,” Eric Jefferson said.
Through faith and family, Eric said their family will fight through this time together, even if they can’t physically be next to each other.
“We are trying to stay there for each other. And that’s unreal because you can’t go there to be there. We’re doing these things over a phone call. Or we’re doing these things, and just trying to be, you know… I don’t know… sometimes you just can’t even put it into words,” Eric Jefferson said.