NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas — The pandemic has changed Christmas this year for all of us, but for those with loved ones in the hospital, it's especially difficult.
A New Braunfels woman is sharing words of strength for these families as she and her husband are spending the holiday apart.
The couple’s German Shepherd, Mickey, has been spending a lot of time by the Christmas tree this week.
He is keeping an armchair warm for his dad.
Fred Gibbons is in a New Braunfels hospital battling the coronavirus. His wife, Tracy, is recovering at home.
Mickey is staying by her side as she spends this Christmas apart from her husband.
“It's horrible for both of us because we obviously can't see each other, and obviously, it's Christmas, which is even worse,” said Tracy. “He's trying to keep his spirits up and some days he'll feel better than others. Today he was feeling pretty good.”
The pandemic has turned Tracy’s world upside down. She lost her dad in July after he was hospitalized with the coronavirus.
Her mom, who also had the virus, was released from a Beaumont hospital in August, but died a few days later.
Tracy tested positive a few weeks ago but is starting to feel better.
Fred has been in the hospital now for one week.
“I think the toughest part is watching Fred go through the same thing my dad did,” said Tracy. “He's obviously much younger than my dad and things have changed since my dad was in the hospital. I think that [Fred is] getting the best treatment that he can.”
Despite all of this hardship, Tracy is staying strong.
“I'm trying to be positive for him too because I want him to keep fighting,” said Tracy. “I know he gets down and he's lonely there. I need to keep up to keep him fighting to because he's got to come home.”
She knows there are many families experiencing a similar Christmas.
Tracy hopes by sharing her story, others will find some comfort and courage to make it through this season.
“I know how they feel and it's not the best way to spend the holiday,” said Tracy. “As long as your loved ones are still there and still fighting, that's what's important. Just know that these poor nurses are doing whatever they can to make sure your loved ones are cared for.”
Tracy thanks the heroes at the hospital for spending their Christmas caring for her husband and other patients. She is also grateful to the New Braunfels community for all the support during this tough time.
Tracy hopes the magic of Christmas brings peace, hope, and healing for all.
Fred is among 67 coronavirus patients in Comal County hospitals.
He’s hoping doctors clear him to transfer to a rehab facility early next week.