My mother was dying of covid. Being poor made it so much worse.
People visit the 'In America: Remember' public art installation near the Washington Monument on September 18, 2021 in Washington, DC. The installation commemorates all the Americans who have died due to COVID-19, a concept by artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg, includes more than 650,000 small plastic flags, some with personal messages to those who have died, planted in 20 acres of the National Mall. Photo by Robert Nickelsberg via Getty Images

My Mother Was Dying of COVID. Being Poor Made It So Much Worse.

My mother died several weeks ago in the covid-19 “red zone” of a nursing home in northeastern Pennsylvania, after having been bounced among three public hospitals over the last three weeks of her illness. The room in which she died looked as though it had been used for storage, with supplies and unused furniture stacked near her bed. No phone, no television, no dresser for her belongings. She had three roommates, one of whom screamed nearly incessantly.

Like many Americans, my mother was poor, on Medicare, and this was the best that could be done for her.


Read the full story in The Washington Post.

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Bobbi Dempsey is the author of several nonfiction books, including Degrees of Desperation: The Working-Class Struggle to Pay for College. She has been writing for EHRP since 2018, including resonant personal essays on her own experience of poverty. She has also written for The Guardian, The Atlantic, The New York Times, and Harper’s, winning an award from the American Society of Journalists & Authors.

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