Stories: Who We Have Lost

For Janet Loy, no one was truly a stranger

Who did you lose to Covid 19? Janet Loy (1 of 2)

This story, by Madison Carter, is part of The WhoWeLost Project’s collaboration with reporting students at Western Kentucky University.
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Janet Loy was the type of woman to give a helping hand to anyone who needed it. Kim Russell, Loy’s daughter, said one of her fondest memories of her mom was a school trip they went on together where she learned just how selfless her mom was. This trip was important for both of them because it was the first time Loy was able to get off work to go on a trip with her daughter.

“I was like ‘oh my gosh,’ for the first time my mom gets to go to something, and she was so good at it,” said Russell. “They had a contest where the chaperones and teachers chewed bubble gum, and whoever could blow the biggest bubble won. I remember her winning.”

Russell said that shortly after that when the school group was hiking, they came across a bridge that seemed unsafe for them to cross. Russell said her mom saved the day. “I remember my mom taking the lead in helping every child over that bridge, and I was so proud that she was my mom,” said Russell.

In February of 2021, Loy passed away due to COVID-19. It is unknown how she contracted the virus, but after days of fighting and then being put on a ventilator her daughter made the decision to take her off.

Russell said the decision was extremely hard, but she knew her mom and what she would want and decided that it was the right thing to do. Russell said that she felt comfort knowing that her mom was now with God.

Russell said that her mom was always happy.“She did have a little bit of a temper, but it took a whole lot to make her mad,” said Russell. Her mom was a caregiver, a trait which her mom passed down to her and other members of the family.

“She never met a stranger,” said Russell. “One of the lessons I learned from her was that it doesn’t matter if you’re high-class, middle-class, low-class. Everyone has a heart and a soul, and it’s not for us to judge.”

Russell said that her mom taught her that you never knew what people were going through, and the easiest thing is to be nice to everyone you meet. Her mom was a very hard worker, a single mom who always worked to provide for her and her brother.

“She retired from Rainbow Baking company,” said Russell. “She was there for 20 some years, and then she retired and started cleaning houses. She retired from that when my grandma got sick, and then she was her full-time caregiver until she passed.”

Russell said that her mom also loved to dance. Russell said that her mom once went to “The Monarchs” concert at the Louisville Zoo dressed up as one of the three musketeers with two of her friends. Russell said the group was dancing like a bunch of teenagers.

“It made me think, I wonder how she was like when she was younger, before all this life happened?” said Russell. “Then I started hearing stories, and every story I heard was always a good story. It was always a funny story.”

Russell said her mom was the kind of person that if you were feeling bad or down on yourself, she would always have something positive to say. Even in her last days her mom was positive and making jokes. Russell said that her mom had formed a close connection with the nurse taking care of her and that the nurse would report back on all the funny things her mom would say and do.

Russell said that the nurse would even spend time with Loy praying and that it was a blessing that she got the nurse she did. Russell keeps in contact with the nurse today.

Joyce Lowe, Loy’s first cousin and close friend, was another important person in her life. Lowe said that her and Loy were like best friends: they were always together and usually up to no good.

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