Robin Steck can't say enough about the doctors and nurses at St. Joseph's Campus at Sisters Hospital, but her gratitude can't mask the ugly, unfair realities of her husband's death.
"All that keeps going through my head is that he died alone," she said Saturday. 'There wasn't anything he wouldn't do for anyone. He was a good man. He didn't deserve this."
Only 56, retired Erie County Corrections Officer William L. Steck Jr. died Friday night from Covid-19, isolated from his wife and family during his final days.
Like her husband, Robin is also alone, quarantined in her East Aurora home because she showed symptoms of having the virus, including a fever.
She mourns her husband's death by talking across her backyard fence to his two sons. No hugs. No kisses. No physical contact with anyone.
Quarantined since March 22, she is feeling better now, and her fever is down. During a brief interview Saturday, she seemed more eager to talk about Bill than herself.
And when she did, her voice cracked with emotion.
"I wasn't prepared for this," she said between tears. "I always had hope. I always thought he would get better. I always thought he would snap out if it."
More and more, one of Covid-19's lasting legacies is proving to be the painful isolation it forces on patients and families while a loved one faces death.
In a New York Times opinion piece, a critical care doctor at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston wrote that, "It's a tough decision that leaves our patients to suffer through their illnesses in a medical version of solitary confinement."
Despite that, Robin seemed anxious to talk about her husband, eager for the world to know the man she loved.
He started getting sick on March 18 and his condition got progressively worse until one day his temperature spiked at 103.3 degrees.
At St. Joseph's, a facility now dedicated to Covid-19 patients, he was put in isolation and for a short time received one of the two malarial drugs being used on people with the virus.
"They were wonderful," Steck said of the doctors and nurses.
Bill Steck was remembered by former co-workers Saturday as fun-loving and full of life.
Robin says he loved his two sons and her two sons and a daughter, and she talked at length about his passion for travel and their trips to Alaska, Jamaica and Hawaii.
When asked about the virus and how it came into their lives, she acknowledged she doesn't know where it came from.
"We do not have a clue," she said. "I wish we did."
In a statement Saturday, a spokesman for Sheriff Timothy Howard said, "Losing anyone to this disease is painful and the sheriff expresses his deepest condolences to the family on behalf of the entire Erie County Sheriff’s Office."
correction: April 5, 2020
Bill Steck, who died last week of Covid-19, was the father of two sons. Robin Steck, his widow, is the mother of two sons and a daughter. An article in Sunday's Buffalo News incorrectly stated that information.