Christina Lowe, 32, lost the love of her life and father to her children to COVID-19 less than a week ago.
It’s a death she now believes was preventable.
"I just always thought it’s never going to happen to us,” Lowe said. “It can’t happen to us. We’re young, we’re healthy. And then it did happen to us, and then you start playing the regret game."
Lowe and her husband Mikel were both adamantly against the COVID vaccine -- that is, until he lay dying in a hospital bed.
"We thought the vaccine was rushed,” Lowe said. “We thought it was more about money and power than about Americans and protecting the people."
Mikel served as a federal firefighter, working out of the Naval Air Station Base in Coronado until just a few months ago. He was born and raised in San Diego County, but his opposition to recent California politics drove the family to move out of state.
“We honestly thought that COVID was mostly political,” said Lowe said.
She says they had friends who got the virus but only suffered minor symptoms, so as a young, healthy couple, they figured they were fine.
Then Mikel got sick and his symptoms were anything but minor.
"I went upstairs to check on him and his face was purple and blue,” Lowe said. “He was struggling to breathe on oxygen."
Mikel died from COVID on Aug. 29 at just 38 years old.
"The last time I saw him they were taking him out to the ambulance,” Lowe said. “And I had to Facetime with my husband while he was unconscious, and that’s how I had to say my goodbyes."
Before his death, Lowe says her husband promised to get the vaccine should he survive. He also urged Christina to get the shot. She later learned her injection was mere minutes before his time of death.
"I was getting the vaccine as they were trying to bring him back from him coding,” she said.
She says she now lies awake at night wondering what if, and worrying about the future of the family Mikel left behind.
"We have two boys,” she said. “They are 5 and 6 and they are now without their father. And it’s just absolutely heartbreaking for all of us."
As a vaccine hold-out herself, Lowe said she has watched countless stories of COVID victim relatives like her own. She says while she didn't listen, she hopes other skeptics do.
“Like I said, it might be political. But your life isn’t worth that," she said. "Your life isn’t worth thinking this is because of the president, or this is because of the governor. Because once you’re gone, none of that matters."
There is a Celebration of Life planned for Mikel at the Crest community center on Oct. 9. Christina Lowe asks those interested in attending to reach out to her directly for more details.