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Lytle family encourages others to consider downsizing Thanksgiving plans after virus takes one of their own

Dora Ytuarte, 73, was the rock of the family before she passed away in August, having fallen ill with coronavirus-related health complications.

LYTLE, Texas — Patty Moreno and family will be celebrating Thanksgiving a bit differently this year as the coronavirus continues to be a looming threat.

“It’s a pandemic that you can’t see. It’s not visible. No one is carrying a little badge saying I have it,” Moreno said.

The virus crept into the lives of the Lytle family beginning in late June.

At first, Moreno thought it might be another bad case of allergies. But a 103-degree temperature, loss of taste and a host of other symptoms indicated something much more sinister. She ended up bed-ridden and having her masked-up daughters take care of her while recovering.

Months later, she can still recall the symptoms. 

“Lack of eating, fatigue – so much fatigue – achiness in the bones. It just all overwhelms you."

It didn’t take long for Moreno’s husband, daughters and 73-year-old mother-in-law, Dora Ytuarte, to start feeling ill as well. Tests confirmed contraction of the coronavirus.

While some members of the family recovered quickly, Ytuarte’s symptoms only worsened after an initial visit to the hospital.

“We realized that when she did she get home after those three weeks, she was so weak she could not even lift a fork or spoon to feed herself," Moreno said. "She couldn’t brush her teeth, she couldn’t brush her hair."

Ytuarte’s ability to breathe on her own declined. She returned to the hospital and was put on a ventilator.

Moreno and family prayed for her recovery while realizing she may not make it.

“The second day that she was in the hospital, she lost consciousness and then she never came back from that," Moreno said. "On the fourth day, she ended up passing away in the hospital."

The virus took away a woman one could describe as a warrior.

“She’s always been a trooper. She’s always been there, she’s always been the confidant—the rock in the family,” Moreno said.

With Thanksgiving just days away, plans are in place to celebrate as normal as can be, but doing so safely.

“You have to wear your mask, and we’re ready to prepare plates to go,” Moreno said.

She said she hopes people can recognize the importance of wearing masks and keeping socially distant to ensure the safety of loved ones. This Thanksgiving, Moreno is more thankful for family than ever before.

“You’re here one day and then you’re gone the next, so life is too short. You can’t take it for granted.”