Husband, music community mourn woman lost to COVID-19

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February 07 2021 06:00 pm

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — This Thanksgiving holiday saw the passing of a 47-year-old woman in the Kanawha Valley.

As Kanawha County remains the county with the highest death toll in the Mountain State with 142 deaths, 13 News spoke to her husband about how this virus affected them.

Emily Hope Haynes was a true Appalachian woman; a flatfoot dancer as a young girl, and a singer of acapella mountain ballads.

Her husband Jeff Haynes, a banjo player, complimented her love of live music, they often dueted together.

He was her best friend, her lover, and her full-time caretaker.

“I didn’t know what our future would hold but I knew that despite the illness she was still Emily and she still had this zest for life,” said Haynes.

Emily was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis, a neurological disorder, early in their relationship.

Her health frequently suffered, but it was COVID-19 that ended her life.

“She’d say ‘Man if I get this I’m not going to live, if I get this I’m not going to live’, and I just kept thinking… maybe we’ll dodge the bullet,” said Haynes.

But Emily did contract the virus on Thanksgiving and after that, Haynes says she went down quickly.

“It didn’t dawn on me at the time and I’m coming down the 35th Street Bridge coming down MacCorkle Avenue in Kanawha City trying to get to CAMC and you know she’s clinging…the doctor calls me, ‘Mr. Haynes, are you almost here? The time is not long,”
He believes she waited for him to die.

“I said ‘I’m here and I want you to go be with papa and your cousin Alison,'” said Haynes.

“The dogs are waiting for you at the rainbow bridge, go.”

Shortly after, Haynes said her monitor flat-lined.

Haynes is now grieving and quarantining at their home in Charleston after testing positive for COVID-19 himself, although he says he’s asymptomatic.

While he’s alone, the local music community and Emily’s friends have stepped up to help, delivering meals to his porch and setting up a GoFundMe for her funeral expenses.

“It gives me a sense of relief to know that my wife’s life, her life touched so many lives,” he said.

And he says he wants people to take this virus seriously.

“You know we have to balance each other out, the strong have to help the weak and there are people out there who are elderly, frail, immuno-compromised and we have to help them out.”

Here is the full Zoom interview with Jeff Haynes:

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