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Remembering Shawna Snyder, An Arizona Nurse, Who Died Of COVID-19

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We're remembering some of the almost 217,000 people who have died of COVID-19 in the United States. Shawna Snyder was a nurse in Tucson, Ariz.

ERNESTO BURBANK: She was just one of them people that brought the best out in you. Whatever you were trying to do, she would help you see it through and get you there.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Ernesto Burbank is Shawna Snyder's husband. They met in junior high and kept in touch when she was in the Navy. He says she changed everything for him.

BURBANK: Look at my life, you probably wouldn't even recognize the difference (laughter). Didn't really see nothing good of myself, and she's seen everything good. So everything changed. And I'm here. I'm a successful tattoo artist. And she was one of my main supporters.

MARTIN: Snyder had four children. Her youngest is not even 2. After she got sick in April, Snyder was intubated at the hospital where she worked.

BURBANK: Couldn't visit her, so we would only visit from the outside of the hospital. And we would sing to her and send her videos. It's a hard battle because, you know, you promise your children that their mom's going to come home, and we weren't able to get there, you know? And to this day, I still have to deal with that. And it's a daily battle, you know?

MARTIN: Shawna Snyder was Navajo, or Dine, and her husband says she spent a lot of her life trying to preserve her culture.

BURBANK: She loves moccasin-making for our people. She started to weave baskets. So those are her biggest things - was, you know, to pass on traditional things from our people to her children, especially our daughter, and just basically being on the res (ph), you know? Our ultimate goal was to build a farm and figure out a way to empower our Native youth, you know, our Dine youth.

One thing that used to concern her was the amount of depression, the amount of suicide that's going on out on the reservations. So these are things she was doing on the side of being a nurse.

MARTIN: Ernesto Burbank, remembering his wife, Shawna Snyder, a veteran and a nurse. She died of COVID-19 at the age of 41.

(SOUNDBITE OF TRACEY CHATTAWAY'S "INTO THE NIGHT") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.