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Vaccine a sign of hope for families who have lost loved ones to COVID-19

For some families who have gone through loss over the last year, this is more than just a vaccine. It's hope for a better future.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kathleen Daugherty arrived at Belmont Village Senior Living in February 2020. Shortly after she moved in, she learned she would be locked down as the coronavirus pandemic made its way to Kentucky.

"I'll never forget it," she said. "Oh God, it was terrible."

A few weeks later, Daugherty received a call from her daughter, Cathy Thomas. Thomas told her mother that her son-in-law, Thomas's husband Greg, had died after contracting the coronavirus.

"I will never forget the day that I called my mother and I had to tell my mother over the phone that my husband had passed away," Thomas said. "And my mother sobbed so much."

Daugherty's family lost another loved to the coronavirus last week, a harsh reminder of the gravity of the pandemic.

"You think, okay, it's going to get better," Diane Kemper, one of Daugherty's daughters, said. "It's going to get better. And it is not over. There is still much to be wary of."

Thomas and Kemper said one of the worst feelings during the early stages of the pandemic was being unable to visit their mother. While they would call her on the phone or try to talk with her using FaceTime, they said there was something missing without the face-to-face interaction.

There is reason for optimism these days. Monday morning, Daugherty and the other residents at Belmont Village Senior Living received the second coronavirus vaccine shot.

"Now you know, I can maybe go out and have some fun," she said,

For a family that has suffered so much loss, getting the vaccine gives Daugherty and her daughters hope that they will not have to lose any more loved ones to the virus.

"My two sons, yeah. They lost their father, and I surely don't want them to lose their mother," Thomas said. "I'm very happy. I've gotten my first vaccine and I'll be glad when I get my second one."

"It's a wonderful world," Daugherty said. "But it'll be more wonderful when we get this vaccine and get this crap out of here."

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