'History repeating itself:' Grandmother tips hat to faith after losing husband to COVID, fear of losing pregnant daughter

SPOKANE, Wash. - Everyday we hear about COVID-19 metrics: The number of people in hospital beds and the number of people who've died. Those numbers are easy to ignore, that is, until they become your husband and children.

For Tracy Assmus, those numbers became real personal, real fast. At the start of the pandemic, Tracy and her husband Ken were enjoying life in lockdown. For them, the time was filled with no deadlines, staying home and completing puzzles. It was a chance to reconnect after decades of happy marriage. The Assmus family took the necessary precautions and followed protocols, but COVID-19 still found a way into their life.

“You know, a lot of people have had COVID and maybe it was no big deal but it’s hard for me not to say it’s not a real big deal for me,” Assmus said.  

Looking around her home you can’t help but feel like something is missing. 

“Somebody that’s healthy, lives a good life isn’t really that old.. 63,” Tracy said.  

Her husband Ken, a beloved member of the Mead community died from COVID-19. He loved the outdoors, photographing hummingbirds and spending time with his family. 

“The doctors at that time were saying 60% they felt like he would make it, and I was nothing but optimistic,” Tracy said. 

For the first time in her life, Tracy was alone. She's a mom of four and a grandmother to nearly a dozen and was left to pick up the pieces after the death of her husband.

“We [her and Ken] didn’t get to talk for the last six days, because that’s when he was intubated, so it was really hard and didn't feel real, for a long time,” Tracy said. 

Tracy said she still waits for him to walk through the door and that not being present for his death, or being at the hospital, has made this feel like an incomplete journey.

With the deep grief that came from the loss of Ken, she was able find some happiness. Her daughter, Katelyn Duffy, found out she was pregnant with her fourth child. But, the birth of the child didn't come without COVID-19 complications.

Tracy said she thought her daughter would be fine, but one day she got a call saying they were taking her by ambulance due to oxygen levels. 

 “I couldn’t believe it, it was just history repeating itself," Tracy said. 

In that time, Tracy said she was concerned she would have to start planning a funeral for her daughter, making it hard to remain positive. After Duffy was admitted to the hospital, pneumonia kicked in and doctors made the decision: The baby needed to be delivered at 31 weeks.

“I was pretty nervous and just maybe not as hopeful,” Tracy said. 

Thankfully Duffy's baby, Remi was delivered healthy and taken to the NICU. Duffy still has a long road ahead of her, but for the first time last week she was reunited with her daughter, meeting her for the first time.

“I try not to ask why this happened but what do I do now,” Tracy said. 

Even though Tracy had every reason to give up, she says she chose happiness and finds comfort in her faith as a member of the Jesus Christ Church of Latter Day Saints.

“I think what I’ve learned from this is that everybody needs to heal in their own way and by giving that’s how we heal,” Tracy said. “So I hope that I will be that same person for someone else that needs to be healed as well I’m just so grateful for the love around me and the support, It’s overwhelming actually but I hope that I’ll glean from the good that came from all this.” 

To support Kaitlyn a gofundme has been set up to pay her medical bills, you can follow this link to help.