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Faces of COVID: Beloved mother remembered as strong and generous

Bobbie Cassity died of COVID-19
Posted at 5:48 PM, Feb 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-17 17:38:39-05

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Faces of COVID: Bobbie Cassity

INDIANAPOLIS — Bobbie Cassity was a strong and loving woman. She grew up in Indianapolis as one of five children. Her only sister Nina Hawk recalls when they were young, Cassity was like a second mother to her. As the two grew older, that relationship turned into a binding friendship. Hawk described Cassity as her very best friend.

“She’s always been a phone call away for me,” Hawk said.

Cassity had three daughters, seven grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. Her youngest daughter Bethany Cassity describes her mother as humble, caring, and giving.

“She was an amazing mother,” Bethany said. “She had this amazing strength, fierceness about her. She never gave up on things. She was a very silly, quirky person. She made friends with anybody she would meet.”

Bethany recalls her mom working two jobs for much of their life. Cassity would come home exhausted from working the third shift and take Bethany out for a fun day. Their relationship was very close.

“She was just a fun-loving mom,” Bethany said.

Faces of COVID: Bobbie Cassity

Cassity was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2018, with Bethany caring for her mother as long as she could.

“We were very close. I took care of her for a while until she had to be wheelchair-bound and our house, we had steps and everything and so she had to be put into a nursing home,” she said.

Faces of COVID: Bobbie Cassity

For much of the pandemic, the nursing home where Cassity was staying had very few cases of COVID-19. Then cases began to rise during the holidays. The 62-year-old’s roommate contracted the virus. Cassity was moved into a different room, but it was too late. She tested positive for COVID-19. Her daughter received the phone call about the news on Christmas day.

“She became really sick she got to the point where she had to have oxygen and it just went downhill from there. She had to be rushed to the hospital on Jan. 3. It happened really, really fast,” said Bethany.

Along with Parkinson’s disease, Cassity also had COPD and a rare disease called Fibromuscular Displaysia. Bethany believes her underlying conditions played a major role in why she couldn’t recover from this fight.

While at the hospital, Cassity was put on a BiPAP mask to help her breathe, but doctors recommended she be put on a ventilator. Cassity never wanted that so the family made the decision to put her on hospice care. She stayed in the hospital for several weeks.

Bethany came to see her mom on Jan. 17, 2021, just after midnight. She had to wear full PPE gear while she sat with her mom, holding her hand. The two talked and laughed a bit, Bethany sang to her, and they watched figure skating on TV like they had when Bethany was young. By 1:30 p.m., the staff at the hospital told Bethany she needs to go home and get some rest.

Faces of COVID: Bobbie Cassity

“They told me that it’s a possibility that she’s waiting for you to leave. That she doesn’t want you to see it,” said Bethany.

Sure enough, just hours after Bethany left. She received a phone call that her mother had died. Bobbie Cassity died on Jan. 17, 2021. She was 62 years old, just four days shy of her 63rd birthday.

Bethany recalls even in her final moments, her mother was trying to make sure her family would be OK, “Through the mask trying to tell me and prepare me. And I will never forget that. Even then, she just never thought about herself it was just always about us.”

Faces of COVID: Bobbie Cassity