Covid robs young mom of chance to hold her baby

Neighbours and close friends of Anishca Morris arranged a drive-by memorial service for her.

Ocean View residents have held a drive-by memorial service for Anishca Morris, 24, who died of Covid-19 without getting to hold her newborn baby.

Anishca worked at Woolworths in Fish Hoek and died on Thursday January 14 of Covid-19 pneumonia at Groote Schuur Hospital.

Deidre Morris told the Echo that her daughter had shown symptoms on Wednesday December 9 and tested positive the following day.

Anishca isolated at her boyfriend’s house, but her condition worsened and she was rushed to False Bay Hospital on Saturday December 12 and placed on oxygen.

The next day, she was transferred to Groote Schuur Hospital for an emergency Caesarean, as her baby was not getting enough oxygen.

She then spent a week in the Covid-19 maternity ward before being transferred to a normal Covid-19 ward. Her baby was discharged while she remained in hospital.

Ms Morris said Anishca had seen her baby, Azariah, for the first time through pictures on her cellphone.

An emotional Ms Morris said Anishca’s last voice note to her said: “If I don’t make it out of here, just remember I love you all.”

“Her death came as a huge shock to all of us. It is still so unreal,” said Ms Morris.

Her son, Azaiah, 4, is very young and does not fully understand what has happened.

“He is traumatised by this, and although he knows she is with Jesus, he still asks for her,” said Ms Morris.

Neighbours and close friends stepped in and arranged a drive-by memorial service for Ms Morris on Thursday January 14.

A table was placed outside the Morris home with flowers and a framed portrait of Anishca. People could pay their respects by placing flowers, lighting a candle or leaving a card.

Close friend Andrea van Wyk, who helped to arrange the memorial, said they wanted people to pay their respects without the risk of contracting Covid-19.

“We knew how important this was to Deidre, as she wanted people to know that the virus is real and wanted people to abide by the rules,” she said.

Ms Van Wyk said they had known Anishca for many years, and Ms Van Wyk’s younger sister, Donne Borchards, and Anishca had attended Ocean View High School together.

“She was such a lovely person, and we were all very close,” she said.

Ms Morris said she had no words to express her gratitude to Ms Van Wyk, Dianne and Donne Borchards and Tina van Nelson for organising the memorial.

“I was grief-stricken and their gesture brought the family some comfort,” she said.