"She is NOT a statistic, she is NOT a number... she is my mom."

Updated: Jul 13, 2021

Cheri Styons Tribute story, in loving memory of her mom, Gayle Lynne Styons who battled COVID-19 bravely.

Gayle Lynne Styons, age 67 and daughter, Cheri Anne Styons, age 46, Washington, North Carolina


(Cheri also did an interview with ABC Channel 11, Eyewitness news, Raleigh, North Carolina, (writing credit to Diane Wilson) to help create awareness of the devastation that COVID-19 has caused across the globe and how it has changed her life FOREVER.)

Our TRUE STORY OF COVID-19 officially began on Tuesday, August 25th, when I received word that I was positive for COVID-19. My first symptom on the 22nd of August, was sniffles, I was mowing the grass and I thought it was allergies. Not uncommon, I’m allergic to grass but I also had a fever of 99.9 that eventually got as high as 102. I was able to get into Vidant Internal medicine, in our local city of Washington, North Carolina, where they performed the Coronavirus nasal swab, telling me to go home and rest and that I would have results the next day.

My mom and I lived together and at that time, she had an eye infection that she had been dealing with, from a Cornea transplant that she had about 30 years ago that was now rejecting the graft. During the height of the pandemic in our city, many doctor's offices were closed and only emergency procedures were taking place. It made it impossible for us to get into Duke, in time to see a plastic surgeon to save her eye. In addition to the eye infection, mom had A-Fib and she was on a list awaiting a liver transplant. Needless to say, I was very worried about her getting sick, as she was immunocompromised.

By the time I was feeling symptoms, my mom was already starting to have sinus drainage (she had already been exposed and was asymptomatic when I was). We knew that contracting this illness could be deadly for her and for that reason, we did not go anywhere for weeks. The only place that I went, was my job as a NC, Corrections Officer, and home. Mom went no-where.

In the early afternoon of August 30th, my mom became disoriented and she was running of fever.... I called 911 and they transported her to Vidant Beaufort County Hospital, where she tested positive for COVID-19 on August 31st.

Over the next month, it didn’t take long to spread through her system...the virus tore through her body quickly. It attacked her A-Fib and caused her to have a stroke which then caused heart damage, it then went to her brain and into her lungs. When my brother, Will Styons, and I got to go see her through the ICU window, the very last time on September 25th, we were told that she had minimal brain function and she was on 80% oxygen and her lungs were shutting down. (We never got to see mom or talk to her again, the final time that I took her to the ER.. she went downhill quickly and was not able to talk to us by phone due to having seizures) we were only able to see her through a glass window to her ICU room, when the hospital knew that she was fading. I silently told her through the window that it was okay to let go. I saw the nurse administer morphine and the convulsions that she was having calmed down. The nurse told us that she would likely not make it through the night. She didn't..

Our mom died at 12:45 a.m. on September 26th. Like many other COVID-19 Warriors, she died alone without family surrounding her bed. (No-one should die without having loved ones there to comfort them and help them pass- NO-ONE!) The three causes of death on her certificate of death were Stroke, COVID-19 double pneumonia and congestive heart failure.

The most special things that you should know about mom was that she was a mother, a teacher, a Girl Scout Leader, a Waitress, a grandmother, a lover of Elvis and Star Trek.... and my best friend....

Mom's favorite saying with her love of Star Trek is what I would like to use as the words of Tribute to my brave mother..

"To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before" (She was extremely bold in her battle with COVID-19)

We love you mom- Love Cheri

My beautiful mom, best friend and room-mate, Gayle Styons

Mom and my brother, Will (he misses her greatly too)

Mom and one of her babies.. my mom was always


She loved margaritas and time with her best friend, Elsa


212 views0 comments