AURORA, Colo. — A family is grieving the death of their parents after they died in an Aurora nursing center just nine days apart.
Harold Seeger, 96, died of COVID-19, and his ex-wife DoLoras Lisco, 92, died nine days later. They were both residents at the Cherry Creek Nursing Center. Their daughter Linda Bruntz said the center hasn’t told her if her mother was tested for the virus.
On Saturday, the nursing center reported 19 deaths, 11 of which were confirmed to be linked to COVID-19. When Denver7 reached out to Joe Gimenez, a spokesperson for the facility, for an update on the number of deaths, he provided outdated information released three days earlier.
Bruntz said before her parents died, she called the nursing center day after day seeking an update on their health and at times, she remembers being put on hold longer than 20 minutes. She said the day before her mother died, she demanded to speak with her mother — that was the last time her family spoke with her. The next morning, Lisco was found dead.
Bruntz said her mom and dad looked forward to weekly family visits. Seeger would even wait for his son to visit to feed him.
“My dad was honorary, and my mother was loving,” Bruntz said.
Seeger served in the Army during World War II.
Lisco was a homemaker. She spent her days on the dairy farm, a labor of love on full display during Halloween when she dressed up in a cow costume.
Seeger and Lisco had three children together: Linda Bruntz, Reggie Seeger and Darryl Seeger.
“I was so lucky to have them,” Bruntz said of her parents.
Her parents divorced when she was young and both remarried. Lisco had another daughter, Julie Lisco-Smith, and became the stepmother to Marlena Albertson, Ken Lisco and James Lisco.
Julie Lisco-Smith said despite the divorce, the seven siblings would get together and bring the grandchildren to visit their parents at the nursing center.
“It’s been really difficult. I didn’t want to lose my parents,” Bruntz said. “I was absolutely devastated. I just was so upset.”
Linda said the nursing home failed to keep her family up to date on what was happening inside the facility after they closed their doors to visitors.
“I felt like they should have kept us in touch. We didn’t even know they had COVID (cases) until my father,” she said.
Gimenez claims the nursing center updates the families listed for the residents at least every other day.
Bruntz expressed anger, frustration and pain over the phone. She said the most painful part of the process was not saying goodbye to her parents and reminding them of her love for them.
The family is now planning two funerals, but Bruntz said the number of loved ones who can say their final goodbye is limited. She said they are only allowed to see their parents through a window.
Gimenez released a statement reading in part, "We wish to extend our heartfelt condolences to her for her loss."
The statement says that the nursing center is working closely with the Tri-County Health Department to protect residents.