Sundee Rutter coronavirus death: Snohomish County breast cancer survivor & mom of six forced to use walkie talkie to say goodbye to kids before dying of COVID-19.
A breast cancer survivor and mother of six from Washington state who passed away earlier this month after contracting novel coronavirus was forced to say goodbye to her children by using a walkie-talkie, propped up against her pillow, according to a report.
‘I told her I love her … she shouldn’t worry about the kids,’ Elijah Ross-Rutter, 20, 42-year-old Sundee Rutter’s fourth-oldest child, told BuzzFeed News.
The Snohomish County woman was recovering from stage 4 cancer when she went to Providence Regional Medical Center on March 3.
At the time, there were only 27 reported cases and nine deaths from the illness in her state – compared to the current 5250 cases and 210 people since recorded deaths.
Rutter and her son spent eight hours in a sealed room surrounded by medical workers in full protective suits.
‘They don’t even want to touch my mom,’ Ross-Rutter said, adding that they were eventually sent home.
‘She thought she had the flu, probably,’ he said. ‘But like, the coronavirus? It was kind of hard for us to understand how she could get it because not that many people had it around here.’
Four days later, Ross-Rutter and his mom returned to the hospital, where a doctor said she would be kept overnight and treated for pneumonia – but the next day, she tested positive for the coronavirus, he told the outlet.
‘For a while, she was able to text,’ the son said, adding that she told him she felt ‘much better’ on March 12.
But her text messages soon turned into just emojis.
‘She was sending me hearts on the messages but she wasn’t replying,’ he said.
‘I’m about to lose my best friend and she can’t even hear me,’
On March 16, Rutter’s six kids – ages 13 to 24 — were summoned to the hospital.
As Sundee lay in her bed, Elijah, his five siblings, and his mother’s sister watched her from a small glass window.
Using a hand-held radio whose receiver was placed next to Sundee’s pillow, her children said goodbye to her for one last time.
‘I told her I love her … she shouldn’t worry about the kids,’ Elijah said.
Sundee died later in the day. Their father died in 2012.
According to the 20-year-old, the most difficult was part was not being able to be in the same room with his mother as she passed away.
‘Like, I’m about to lose my best friend and she can’t even hear me,’ the woman’s son recalled.
The children described her as ‘kind, beautiful, caring, and goofy.’
‘She would also love when we would teach her the new dance moves that were trending. She really loved music,’ Ross-Rutter said.
Her oldest child, Tyree Rutter, 24, plans to use the donations of more than $288,710 from people across the US to secure housing for him and his siblings as he completes his final year at Central Washington University.
‘Like it’s crazy how much love and support we’ve been receiving from the community,’ Ross-Rutter told BuzzFeed. ‘It kind of goes to show how big of an impact my mom had on our community.’