Raleigh woman mourns loss of father from a distance after he dies from COVID-19 in California

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The coronavirus continues to take lives and a Raleigh woman is sharing her heartbreak after losing her father Alex Bernard to the virus.

"I was his right-hand person growing up so we would take me everywhere with him. I remember going to the hospital rooms and him praying for people and going to feed the homeless. He was a walking angel on earth," said Crystal Harris, Bernard's daughter.

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Harris said she is shocked how fast COVID-19 took her 56-year old's father's life. When she talked to him two weeks ago, she said he wasn't feeling well.

"I was like, 'Dad you really don't look good. You need to go home, because you look sick. Go and get some rest,'" she recalls.

The next day she got word he took a turn for the worse.

"I got the call he was incoherent. He couldn't walk, so they called the ambulance, and they took him to the hospital."

Harris was with her family in Raleigh, while the rest of her family, which includes 7 siblings along with her mom, were at home in California. Harris said her dad was put on a ventilator, and due to restrictions no one could be with him, he passed away from COVID-19 days after testing positive.

Harris says it's still unbelievable to know that her dad is gone. It's not known how her dad contracted the coronavirus. She said the entire family is mourning her father's death from a distance.

"The hardest thing is we can't be together. What is keeping us strong is our faith in God and our trust that we know where our dad is and we know he was never alone," Harris adds. Bernard was a pastor at Desert Reign Church in Los Angeles where Harris says he dedicated his life to serving others.



The family set up a GoFundMe in Bernard's name to help the family he left behind. Since its launch, the family has raised more than $20,000.

"I've been thinking a lot about the legacy my dad left and it's really inspired me to be a better person," Harris said. "I see a lot of him in me already, but we as humans can do more to be there for others. So if you have the opportunity to just be there for someone, even if it's just a phone call, it would mean the world to them."

Once the stay at home orders are lifted, Harris says they will celebrate her dad's life as a family.
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