PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) ─ When Michelene Facha died shortly after testing positive for COVID-19 back in May, a part of her sister’s heart left with her.
“We were like a year apart,” Priscilla Facha Dimaio said. “We grew up together, and to lose one of us, it’s just so heart breaking. It’s just unreal because of the circumstances.”
Priscilla said her sister was living at a nursing home in Smithfield and was making the most of it.
“She was a good soul,” she said. “I always brought her meals, my other sister would get mad at me cause it wasn’t a dietary meal, I bring her like lobster rolls. She would yell at me and I’d be like ‘What else does she have?'”
If you had a list of every underlying health condition COVID-19 would go after, Priscilla said her sister had it, and what they feared would happen ultimately did.
“She had a headache, a fever…they did another test and it was positive,” Priscilla recalled, adding that when her sister was first tested she was negative. “About two days later, they felt because of her breathing issues they wouldn’t be able to care for her, so they transported her to [Our Lady of Fatima Hospital]. A week later, she was dead.”
Priscilla said Michelene is being remembered as a loving sister, mother, grandmother and nurse.
“We’re from Pawtucket. We actually grew up in Prospect Heights, which is a housing project,” Priscilla explained. “She put herself through school, she became a registered nurse and ironically enough, she was a geriatric nurse and she was the head of a nursing home. She was very comfortable being at a nursing home. It was like going home again.”
She hopes her sister’s story will put a face to one of the hundreds of Rhode Islanders who have died after testing positive for COVID-19.
“You talk about the 1,000-plus deaths in the state of Rhode Island and she was one of them,” Priscilla said. “But I don’t think she was the only one. I pray for every single one of them and my heart goes out to every family, because I know how it is.”
Priscilla had a message for everyone who hears her sister’s story.
“I always say to people, ‘Everybody is going to know somebody who lost somebody,'” she said. “I hope I’m that one for you so you don’t have to experience what we did.”