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3 members of St. Louis family die from COVID-19, 5 others test positive

"It really took a toll on my entire family. I'm so emotionally exhausted. I'm not coping," said Erin Griffin

ST. LOUIS — It was a life-altering experience for 40-year-old Erin Griffin and her family.

"I just want to go somewhere and lie down. I don't want to hear anyone or anything. It's taken a toll on my entire family," said Griffin.

This summer Erin and seven of her family members, including her 14-year-old son, her mom, her partner, two great-uncles and her 82-year-old grandmother, all battled the coronavirus.

"It really is surreal. Honestly, I can't explain it to you. I'm not coping," Griffin said.

Erin said her 72-year-old uncle first died from the virus at a nursing home in April.

The next month, her 67-year-old mom and 74-year-old uncle also lost their lives.

"My mother's birthday is on Nov. 4, and it's just so hard for all of us. My biggest fear in my entire life was losing my mother," said the Florissant woman.

Griffin's mom, grandmother and uncle lived together in St. Ann.

Erin believes while working as their caretaker, she unknowingly exposed herself to COVID-19. 

"I couldn't breathe very well and each time I went to the doctor they gave me a diagnosis of an upper respiratory type infection. I had flu-like symptoms, headaches and body aches," she said.

"Oh, it was so hard," said Erin's 50-year-old sister Lawanda Griffin. "It was just the hardest thing. I was so afraid.

"I was so sick," Lawanda said. "Today, I still have pneumonia in my lungs and the doctors say I now have congestive heart failure, but I today I feel blessed because the three and a half months that I was in the hospital, the virus really took a toll on me."

Five months after her family's tough fight with coronavirus, Erin admits she and her relatives are still riding an emotional rollercoaster after losing three loved ones. 

Amid all the pain and questions, she's still giving thanks.

"We're grateful. You have to be thankful for everybody that you have that's left," said Griffin.