Area families reunite at Easter for first time since the start of the pandemic

Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 3:02 PM CDT
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(KWTX) - Families across Central Texas say they had an Easter they’ll never forget as many gathered for the first time since COVID-19.

It was the first holiday many say they’ve spent with extended family, including Ashley Brittain’s family in Robinson.

Twenty-four family members from four generations gathered Sunday.

“We haven’t all been together in over a year,” Ashley said.

“We were at Gran’s house and it was just amazing. Just to be able to hug everybody and see everybody face-to-face after not being able to see everyone for so long.”

Ashley said Gran, her grandmother in her 80′s, was especially thrilled.

She’s only been able to see family in small numbers, with masks and from a distance for months, but she’s now vaccinated and soaked this special Easter Sunday in.

The Holcomb family gathered in Waco.
The Holcomb family gathered in Waco.(Courtesy photo)

The story was similar for Kristina Holcomb whose family, including grandparents, cousins and aunts and uncles, gathered in Waco for the first time in months.

“Oh, it was awesome,” Kristina said.

“We had one of the best times we’ve had in the last year and a half. Finally, it was a break from ‘this is canceled or that can’t happen.’ It was really nice.”

The Swanson family.
The Swanson family.(Courtesy photo)

Pam Swanson of Killeen has missed a lot over the last year because of the ongoing threat of COVID-19 and she worried she’d miss her granddaughter’s first Easter after she contracted the virus in March.

She ended up in the emergency room for several hours with a coronavirus diagnosis, which also included pneumonia.

“I was sick, getting really bad sick on March 11th and they wanted to put me in the hospital but I said ‘I have two little Yorkies at home and I don’t have anyone to take care of them,’” Pam said.

“It just spiraled. I was sick. I was very sick.”

Pam recovered in isolation at home and the isolation was one of the hardest parts, she says.

Pam works at a cardiology office, but her most coveted job is as Mema to her eight grandkids, four of whom live in the area.

“I remember on the phone crying to my son. I said, ‘I’m going to miss Hunter’s first Easter,’” Pam said through tears.

“I cried. Just silly things I guess but I’m a hands-on Mema.”

Mema recovered just in time to be with Hunter and the other 30 family members who gathered for a late afternoon lunch and egg hunt Sunday.

Pam says it’s an Easter Sunday she’ll never forget and a celebration she’ll never again take for granted.

“Oh, absolutely not,” she said.

“It was just so nice to hear all the laughing and everybody having a good time and just being with family again.”

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