This story was originally posted on Aug. 9, 2014
Heartbroken and inconsolable, a Philadelphia woman is searching for answers after the deadly Ebola virus took the lives of two of her children in the span of just a few weeks.
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“I can’t stand it,” said Georgia Nah of Southwest Philly. “I can’t sleep. Every day I think about them.”
Nah was thrusted into the spotlight July 25 when her son, 40-year-old Patrick Sawyer became the first American to be killed by the virus.
Sawyer became ill just a few weeks after rushing to the bedside of his sick sister, 27-year-old Princess Nyuennyue, who was hospitalized in early July in Liberia, where she lived with her fiancé and son.
“I didn’t even know she was sick,” said Nah as she choked back tears.
Nyuennyue died July 7-- one day after her brother visited her.
But hospital officials did not test the woman for Ebola until after her death – meaning her brother had no way of knowing he was exposed to the virus.
About two weeks after his sister’s death, Sawyer -- in Liberia since 2008 for his work with the foreign government’s Ministry of Finance -- was sent to Nigeria on assignment.
He collapsed as the plane touched down July 20 and was rushed to a hospital, where he was quarantined until his death five days later. He left behind a wife and three daughters, who he visited regularly at their home in Minnesota.
“My children were good children,” Nah said.
Nyennetue was buried in Liberia. But more than two weeks after Sawyer’s death, his family is still working to have his ashes returned to the states.
“At least send me something,” Nah said. “To know that here are the death certificates, the results of the Ebola. I don’t have anything.”
A memorial service for both of Nah's children will be held in Philadelphia Aug. 23.