A year after COVID-19 came to Arizona, families share their experiences

One year ago, Arizona confirmed its first case of COVID-19. Soon after, we entered the pandemic

More than 700,000 cases and over 12,000 deaths later, it's been a year of tragedy for Arizonan families.

Two different families who both recently lost loved ones to COVID-19 within the past couple of weeks spoke to FOX 10. Rewind to a year ago, none of the loved ones could fathom the thought of the virus taking their family members away.

Woman loses her father and grandmother

In two-straight days, Mayra Randt lost two special people in her life. On Jan. 14, her father, 56-year-old Leopoldo Gonzalez lost his battle with COVID-19. The next day, her grandmother, 82-year-old Bertha Salazar, passed away.

"If COVID didn't exist, they would still be here," she said.

Randt says the mother and son danced together two weeks before catching the virus. By early January, both were in the hospital, but Randt believed her father would survive.

"Now he's gone. Like how is that possible when that whole time we expected my grandma 'cause she was doing bad. She wasn't getting any better," Randt explained.

Her father is remembered as a caring grandfather and hardworking husband with an infectious laugh. His mother raised him along with five other boys.

"When she started getting very, very sick, all she wanted was like, 'I just want my sons. I just want my sons here because I'm dying. I want my sons,'" Randt recalled her grandmother saying.

Family members could only say goodbye to them from outside windows while praying for miracles.

Donate to Leopoldo's and Bertha's family here.

'The longer it's here, the closer it hits home'

"One of the hardest parts about not being in the room with him was to like help him with the equipment. He really struggled," said Phuong Tran, who lost his father to the virus.

Also separated by glass just as Randt, Tran watched her father Thanh Tran be put on a ventilator before dying on Jan. 18.

He was 60, a husband, father and grandfather. As a young man, Thanh came to the U.S. with his family as refugees to start a new life.

She misses the time he shared with her son and the little things. "I mean there's just so much. Sharing meals or even just being able to text him," Tran said.

She's joined social media support groups for those who have lost loved ones to COVID-19, hoping to heal while living in a pandemic far from over.

"I'm sure everybody knows somebody that's been affected by it. Somehow but the longer it's here, the closer it hits home," Tran said.

Donate to the Tran family here.