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Thanksgiving marks start of an emptier holiday season with a loved one lost to COVID-19

Joanna Wilson on Thanksgiving
Posted at 10:02 PM, Nov 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-26 23:26:06-05

LENEXA, Kan. — There's not a day in Joanna Wilson's life she doesn't think of her late husband, Dennis.

"There are still too many people dying and it still hits everybody differently," Joanna Wilson said Thursday.

Dennis Wilson, a 74-year-old former educator was Johnson County's first coronavirus death in March.

"The first of everything are very difficult. Dennis's birthday was just a week and a half ago and to get through his birthday was really difficult," Joanna said.

Thanksgiving had it's own challenges.

"That empty chair so to speak, it was noticeable all the way through. I cooked all day yesterday and I didn't have my sous chef who always was there peeling and chopping and cleaning up after me," Joanna said.

So far at least 1,073 other people have died because of COVID-19 in the metro, their families heartbroken. (

"Well, I feel for them," she said. "We are all going to be saddened all through the holiday season and we're all going to be not knowing what we should do."

The number of COVID-19 cases reported each week continues to climb in our area with no end in sight.

"Why can't the public do something to help each other and to unite in this way to do something about slowing this virus down? I don't understand it. I just don't get it," Joanna said.