AURORA — Magenta lights lit up Denver to honor the lives lost to COVID-19 on the one-year anniversary of the first case diagnosed in Colorado. The color represents compassion and kindness for every story behind each life taken.
One of those stories is of 21-year-old Cody Lyster.
Photos and memorabilia of Cody fill his childhood home. Through tears, Cody’s mother, Lea Ann Lyster, blustered about her son.
“He was this larger-than-life personality,” Lea Ann said. “He was the energy and the spirit of this house.”
At 6-foot-2, his family described him as a gentle giant with a zest for life and a passion for baseball. He attended Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction and dreamed of becoming an officer like his father, Kevin Lyster. He and his son shared a love of sports and both coached softball.
“There is not a day I don’t cry,” Kevin said.
Lea Ann says the hardest part of their journey was not only her son's birthday, but ringing in a new year knowing he wasn’t going to be part of holidays and special events ahead.
“There are not going to be any new memories,” Lea Ann said.
“He was gone too soon, and it just wasn’t fair,” said Sierra Lyster, Cody's sister.
Cody was one of the youngest Coloradans to lose his life to COVID-19 last April.
“Cody, we love you,” Lea Ann and Kevin told their son over FaceTime as he laid in the hospital bed.
“You grieve every day,” Lea Ann said
Nearly 6,000 loved ones have died of COVID-19 in Colorado. On Friday, they were honored with a prayer and Gov. Jared Polis gave a speech.
“We just don’t want him to be forgotten because he was such a kind loving person,” Lea Ann said.
The loss to the Lyster family was detrimental, but in their eyes, their son was a hero and helped warn people of the dangers the virus poses.
As states across the U.S. lift mask mandates, the Lyster family wants everyone to remember their son and the memories and final moments they were robbed of because of the virus. The family is pleading that the public listen to health officials and continue to wear masks and socially distance to keep people safe.