CLEVELAND — A mother in Northeast Ohio has taken drastic measures to protect her daughter while caring for patients with coronavirus.
“I gave her the sleepover bag and I said, 'Mia, momma needs to be at work a little bit more,'” said Ada Cruz.
That difficult conversation between mother and child took place as Cruz painfully parted ways with her 3-year-old daughter.
“I know she doesn’t understand what’s going on, but my heart is broken,” said Cruz.
The pair have been living apart since late October.
“'Momma just wants you to be taken care of, so you’re going to stay with grandma and pawpaw.' She said, 'It’s okay mom' and she does one of those face grabs, 'It’s okay mom, we’re going to be okay,'” said Cruz.
While they talk or FaceTime every day, they’ve had very little contact.
“Play games through the window, try to blow kisses through the window. It’s been very difficult,” said Cruz.
Cruz, a respiratory therapist at the Cleveland Clinic, is caring for patients with COVID-19.
“I can’t even describe the way that I feel mentally and emotionally. And just not being able to hold my baby — it just makes me feel that much worse,” said Cruz.
Cruz’s dedication runs deep, and hits close to home.
Her younger brother Gerald has sickle cell anemia, and the care he received at the Cleveland Clinic inspired her.
“We had to see respiratory therapists in and out of his room for many, many years and I thought I have to be like her,” said Cruz.
For the last 18 years, she's been living out that dream and clearly doing whatever it takes to keep paying it forward.
“I have to ensure that I’ve done my best to help take care of these patients. Mia will understand later on,” said Cruz.
Right now, Cruz wants the public to understand the dangers of this pandemic and to take precautions seriously.
“This woman is sacrificing her time with her daughter to help save lives of people and the least we can do is wear a mask,” said Cruz.
Next week, Cruz will get her second dose of the coronavirus vaccine, and after 3 months apart, Mia will come home.
“Big hugs. Big old kisses. I know she’s going to sing,” said Cruz.
The little girl already has big plans to make up for lost time with her mom.
“She needs to do my hair; she needs to do my makeup and she wants to snuggle and I’m all for it. And I can’t wait,” said Cruz.