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NOEL KING, HOST:
Time for StoryCorps. Today we have a talk between Alice Stockton-Rossini and her mother Jackie Stockton. Both of them survived COVID-19. The outbreak in their community in New Jersey was traced to Jackie's 90th birthday party, which was held at her church in March.
ALICE STOCKTON-ROSSINI: Do you remember when you realized you had COVID-19?
JACKIE STOCKTON: I never realized it. One day I was at church, and that's all I remember until I woke up in a hospital. And apparently, I'd been there for a while.
STOCKTON-ROSSINI: We had your birthday party before there was social distancing. And the next thing we knew, nine members of our family had it. I lost my brother-in-law, and five members of our church are dead. It's just - it's mind blowing. It really is.
STOCKTON: Yes, it is.
STOCKTON-ROSSINI: How is it different than other major events that have happened in your lifetime?
STOCKTON: Well, I remember 9/11 as though it just happened, but then it was over. This will never, ever be over. This is different - much more personal. The most difficult part of this is losing my best friend. I've known her since she was a young girl, and then suddenly she was gone. And nobody would tell me.
STOCKTON-ROSSINI: We couldn't tell you right away.
STOCKTON: It's very difficult.
STOCKTON-ROSSINI: It was.
STOCKTON: It still is and always will be.
STOCKTON-ROSSINI: What do you worry about most now?
STOCKTON: I always worry about my family - always. It takes a long time to say my prayers at night. I have so many kids, grandkids - got to pray for everybody.
STOCKTON-ROSSINI: Lay in bed at night hoping it's just going to be better tomorrow.
STOCKTON: Yes, that's the most important thing.
STOCKTON-ROSSINI: If you could give one piece of advice on getting through what we're going through right now, what would it be?
STOCKTON: One piece? Oh, my. I guess, faith - faith that things will get better, faith that people will come together more instead of tearing each other apart. There's always been something. And we've come through it, just like when Daddy's grandmother, who raised him, lost half of her children.
STOCKTON-ROSSINI: Grandmom Haines did?
STOCKTON: Yes, she did. She lived through the worst kind of hell - having to bury so many of your children. But look how she came through it. She was an amazing woman and so was her husband. They just did things they needed to do. And they survived.
STOCKTON-ROSSINI: Put one foot in front of the other. Take one day at a time. What did you always say, mom? One minute at a time.
STOCKTON: You got to keep going. That's for sure.
KING: That was Jackie Stockton and her daughter Alice Stockton-Rossini. They recorded their conversation using StoryCorps Connect. That's a platform that lets people interview each other remotely and then upload to the StoryCorps archive at the Library of Congress. To record an interview, you can go to npr.org and find it there.
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