The devastated family and friends of a ‘fit and healthy’ 38-year-old who died a week after testing positive for Covid-19 have paid tribute to the ‘caring, lovely, funny’ woman they have lost.
Nuria Daniela Gomes, tested positive for Covid on December 2 and passed away just seven days later, leaving her daughters, Erica, 20, and Myra, 17, bereft.
Nuria’s friend, Mena Tando, 37, said that Nuria contacted her on December 3 and said she had Covid, ‘but there is no need to worry about it’.
“She said ‘I have a cough, a little fatigue, but I am fine'”, Mena said.
Mena told the Manchester Evening News she dropped groceries off on the doorstep and kept in touch for the next few days.
By Wednesday, December 7 Mena had become concerned about her friend’s persistent cough. Then, she had a missed call at 1am.
When Mena rang back, Nuria’s daughter, Myra told her that Nuria had been taken to hospital.
By 2am on Friday December 9, Mena had learned that Nuria, who lived in Liverpool, had died.
“It was a big shock for me, I had been speaking to her all week and to get a call to say she had passed away I just could not believe it,” Mena said.
Daughter Erica, 20, recalled the traumatic minutes when her mother’s health dramatically worsened.
“Mum didn’t want to sleep alone so we put a mattress in her room,” she said.
“We could hear she was struggling to breathe.
“I was panicking, but she said she was fine.
“When we switched the light on we saw her hands were purple, her lips were purple and her eyes looked huge.
“It was really disturbing.”
The two sisters called an ambulance and bravely performed CPR until paramedics arrived, but say she died before she made it to Whiston Hospital.
Erica says: “It was all happening so quickly.”
“I still have flashbacks and then I try to quickly forget.”
Myra, 17, says she and her sister prayed for their mother as she struggled.
“Ever since we were little my mum has been taking care of us on her own,” she said.
“She is all we had.
“She was so hard working, caring, lovely, funny, she brought us up with respect and taught us everything we know.
“We were really close.
“She always heard us when we wanted to talk.
“She taught us to be grateful for everything we had.
“She always helped everyone she met and was the genuine soul anyone could ever meet.
“Everything I am is because of her.
“She impacted my life in a way no-one else could.”
Their mother’s closest friend, Elizabeth Neto, 35, a foster carer and administration officer from Salford, said they are all “massively shocked” and left trying to come to terms with what has happened.
“It’s surreal, its unbelievable, it’s a massive shock,” she said.
She remembers Nuria as ‘very open, very friendly, always smiling, always in a good mood’.
They had both moved to the UK from Angola, and bonded 17 years ago when a mutual friend introduced them.
When they both became mums, they shared that joy and, she says, were always part of each others’ milestone celebrations, although after Elizabeth moved to Manchester from Liverpool, lockdown meant they couldn’t meet as often as they had.
“We would be at weddings together, we shared celebrations,” Elizabeth said.
“I am trying to come to terms with it,” she said.
Nuria’s daughters, both students, say they now feel ‘completely lost’ as they try to cope with their grief, their father thousands of miles away in Angola.
“We don’t know how we are going to pay for the funeral costs and we are completely lost.” Myra said.
Elizabeth and a close family friend Mena have rallied around and Elizabeth has set up a Go Fund Me page to help raise funds for the funeral.
“I have known Nuria for 19 years, Mena added.
“We met in a hostel in Liverpool in 2003 and from there we became friends.
“She was so quiet, a kind and easy going person and was always there whenever you needed her.
“She was always available to help.
“The friendship grew stronger and stronger.
“I tried to persuade her to get vaccinated, but she was concerned.
“She had read things on social media about there being possible consequences in a couple of years.
“I am missing her a lot.”
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