ELMORE CITY, Okla. (KFOR) – An Oklahoma teen has been searching for a way to cope with life after losing her sister and father to COVID-19 last year – and now, another sudden death is leaving the Elmore City High School student lost.
“I’m kind of worried about putting myself through college and just having her there just like for simple questions,” said Angelica Lara.
Angelica Lara’s mother passed away last Tuesday. Her death comes within nine months of losing Angelica’s sister and father.
“I don’t want to say I feel alone because like I have all these people, but I kind of do,” said Lara.
Lara told KFOR her sister 18-year-old sister Liliana chances of surviving COVID-19 were limited. She was disabled with respiratory problems.
The family told KFOR Liliana died on November 24, 2020. Her father passed away a couple of weeks after Liliana’s death on December 8.
He spent three weeks fighting the virus in the ICU.
Liliana and her dad passed away before the COVID-19 vaccine was available.
“I wish I said bye to my dad,” said Lara. “That’s the only thing I really regret.”
With Lara’s mom’s recent death, her aunt is taking care of her.
“I told her, and you know what I said, that I have your back until I take my last breath, and she told me to make please sure it’s a long time from now,” said Amanda Balbantin.
Balbantin told KFOR Angelica’s mom didn’t die from COVID but blames a broken heart and lack of ICU beds as factors.
“COVID didn’t take her, but it definitely had an impact because there is a possibility that if they could’ve found an ICU bed that she could still be here,” said Balbantin.
KFOR tried multiple times to confirm with the Oklahoma hospital the family’s claims about ICU beds being unavailable at the time of Angelica’s mom’s death.
Despite several calls and an email, we haven’t heard back.
“We don’t know why. But we know that we spent hours looking for an ICU bed,” said Balbantin.
The family told KFOR that Lara and her mom became the best of friends after her dad and sister died.
Lara does have a 22-year-old brother.
Lara and her family are now figuring out what’s next for their lives.
“She asked me the other day; she said, ‘Aunt Mannie when I get married, who’s going to walk me down the aisle?,” said Balbantin. “Kids don’t think of that, but she has to think of that now.”
“I just don’t think there are some things that we should have to go through and especially so close together,” said Lara.
The Elmore City High School has set up a bank account for Lara’s senior fees.