One woman's coronavirus-related story includes birth and death within nearly 24 hours

Posted at 9:36 PM, Mar 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-23 23:39:50-04

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Many families across the Tri-State have had to change plans due to the coronavirus. One Northern Kentucky family experienced birth -- and death -- all within the same 24-hour period.

“You do have to pick blessings out from the things when you’re in this kind of situation," Boone County resident Rita Brock said. "That’s all we have.”

On Friday, March 13, her daughter was going to the hospital to be induced for her first baby. It was a day she had been waiting for.

“When the phone rang at 6:30, I was totally expecting it to be her,” Brock said.

Instead, it was her brother-in-law in Florida with different news -- her 86-year-old mother, Lois Hampton, had passed away.

Lois Hampton.JPG

“She had died in her sleep that night," Brock said. "My mom had written everything out.”

It was a plan made more than three decades ago, when Hampton paid for her burial.

"She knew who she wanted to speak, who she wanted to sing," Brock said. "She had bible verses for the children and grandchildren to read.”

Later that same day, a call came in from Christ Hospital, but not the news they were waiting for. Instead of the announcement of a birth, it was news that the hospital was closing down to visitors because of COVID-19.

"The one that meant the most to me," Brock said. "That I’ve waited for my whole life, wasn’t going to be able to happen? I was so upset.”

Brock rushed to Christ Hospital and got there 90 minutes before the hospital shut down to guests.

“She did great," Brock said. "She did amazing. Her husband was a huge support. I stepped out for the delivery, and then I was able to come right back in”

Then, William Thomas Hathorn, who will go by Liam, was born. Brock was there to take pictures of the newborn -- 8 pounds, 15 ounces and 21 inches long -- for absent family.

William Thomas Hathorn - Baby Liam
Courtesy Rita Brock

Immediately after the happy occasion, Brock had to go straight to planning a funeral according to her mother's instructions.

“We were going to have the church service," she said. "The church declined. Which we had to do. They thought we could do it at the funeral home. The funeral home said we have to have 10 or less people there.”

The decades-long plan had been derailed by the coronavirus.

“At the very end she said 'if this doesn’t work out, just scrap it,'" Brock said. "I think she’d be okay with scrapping it. Which we definitely had to do. I just want whatever is done to glorify God.”

Lois Hampton Funeral.JPG

Hampton's husband suffers from dementia, so the family thought it would be for the best if he didn't attend the service.

“Their friends they’ve had for 60 to 70 years wouldn’t be able to hug him -- be with him," Brock said. "We decided not to bring him.”

He watched his wife's funeral virtually, through a FaceTime feed.

“We did the service on an iPad for him to see it," Brock said. "Everyone gave their condolences over the iPad. It was just sad.”

“We haven’t told him his wife died once, we’ve told him hundreds of times now," Brock said. "That’s heartbreaking.”

For the time being, despite the tragedy, the family is counting their blessings, and celebrating little Liam's birth.

"For us, it’s made grieving a lot more difficult, but lucky for us, we have a brand new baby to celebrate,” Brock said.

William Thomas Hathorn - Baby Liam
Courtesy Rita Block