Fae Williby smiled as she posed for a photo with three of her great-grandchildren while sitting at a dining room table on Mother's Day.
The 101-year-old Blair woman had good reason to smile. She recently recovered from a battle with coronavirus that has left her weakened, but alert.
“I can't complain. It could be better and it could be worse. I feel fortunate as far as that goes,” Fae said during a phone interview with the Enterprise from the home of her son, Ron Williby.
Fae was exposed to the virus as a resident of Carter Place, where she was one of 13 residents and six staff members to become ill.
For nearly the last two months, Fae has stayed with her son, Ron, and his wife, Nancy, in their Blair home. Ron, Nancy, and Ron's sister, Cheryl Wood, have helped care for Fae.
“We're really thankful Mom has gotten through this in as good of shape as she has,” Ron said.
“She's still very, very sweet. As sweet as she can be,” Nancy added.
Fae tested negative last week and was expected to be tested again this week. If she received a second negative test, she could return to Carter Place on June 1. However, Nancy said the family has been debating how to move forward.
“If we did not keep her here, (Carter Place) would be the place she would be most familiar with and comfortable because she knows the people,” she said.
The family has arranged for Fae to have a room with an outside facing window, which would allow family members to see her while talking with her on the phone as the facility is still on lockdown.
“That's going to be the only connection we have with her until they open up,” Nancy said. “The way it sounds, it could be all summer. I don't know. Nobody knows what the future brings here.”
Meanwhile, Nancy's mother, 96-year-old Margaret Peck, who was the first Carter Place resident to test positive for COVID-19, continues to test positive though she has no symptoms of the illness. She first tested positive March 23.
Peck spent 36 days in isolation in a hospital. She was released about two weeks ago and has since stayed with her other daughter, Jan. But because she continues to test positive, Peck must stay in quarantine. To accommodate her, Jan's husband, who has Parkinson's and can't be exposed to his mother-in-law, has moved into the couple's motorhome with his son.
“It's been such a trial,” Nancy said.
Nancy estimated her mother has been tested at least 10 to 12 times. She most recently tested positive last week.
“It has just been a nightmare for her because she wants to go back (to Carter Place) so bad and she can't get back there,” Nancy said.
Still, the Willibys said it is a relief to see their mothers recover from the virus.
“It is (a relief) because so many people, including Nancy's mom, keep continue to test positive way beyond what we thought was normal,” Ron said. “To have mom test negative, that was a good sign that she got through it.”
“Overall, both of them have come through it very well,” Nancy added.