Molokai family loses mom to COVID, urges others to take the pandemic seriously

Coronavirus

KAUNAKAKAI, Hawaii (KHON2) — The State Department of Health reported 19 deaths in the last week due to COVID.

It is hard to imagine losing a loved one to this terrible virus, but it is happening.

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The Solatorio family on Molokai shared their heartbreaking story in the hopes that it will convince more people to take the pandemic seriously.

Dianna Solatorio was one of a kind; an amazing cook, generous and full of love. She moved from Indiana to Molokai after marrying the love of her life, Philip Solatorio, 58 years ago.

They raised their family on the Friendly Isle and were inseparable. Then on Thursday, Aug. 12, she tested positive for COVID-19.

Her daughter, Lei Dudoit, said she could not believe it.

“I was shocked,” Dudoit said as she choked back tears. “Just just so many mixed emotions.”

Dianna’s family was concerned even though she was vaccinated because she had several underlying medical conditions. They still tried to stay positive.

“Knowing that she was being sent to Queens (Medical Center) made me feel a little bit better because I know that Molokai don’t got the medical resources that we need for the COVID patients here,” Gregory Solatorio, Dianna’s youngest son, said.

Due to COVID, no one was allowed to stay with her or even visit her in the hospital. She was all alone.

“That was really hard. She’s been hospitalized several times, for illnesses. And we always make sure that someone was there,” Dudoit explained.

She took a turn for the worse seven days later. Only then would the hospital let her family visit. Four of her children flew to Oahu the next morning.

Five minutes after they landed on Oahu, the call came — mom was gone.

“I think nobody should go like that. Everybody should have their family around them,” Solatorio said as he held back tears.

They were able to take their dad to see their mom one last time.

“It was devastating. To hear him cry, and for him to look at you and ask, ‘Can I just kiss her one last time?’ and it was hard for me to tell him ‘you can’t, you know, you can’t touch her.’ I wouldn’t want to wish that on anybody,” Dudoit said.

“After spending your life with someone, for 58-59 years never being apart for the first time. It was devastating for him,” Solatorio added.

The family wanted to share their story in the hopes it would convince others to be more careful.

“Everyone needs to be aware that COVID is real, it is real. It will take your loved ones from you,you know, whether they’re healthy or not healthy,” Dudoit said.

“I used to think COVID wasn’t serious, but now, losing a parent you kind of look at it very differently,” Solatorio said. “Wearing masks and all of this kind of stuff and social distancing is very important. I know it’s uncomfortable, and a lot of people don’t like it, but, when it’s to do with your community, your town or your island, it’s not about us anymore. It’s about the safety for everybody.”

Disclaimer: Dianna Solatorio is the mother-in-law of reporter Jenn Boneza.

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