'The Cost Was Her Life': Mom's Obituary Blames Unvaccinated For Her Death

by Julie Scagell
Courtesy of Mandy Ayers

Ayers caught a breakthrough case of COVID after being fully vaccinated

One Springfield, Illinois mom and grandmother’s obituary has gone viral for calling out those who choose not to get vaccinated during a global pandemic.

Candace Cay Ayers, 66, received her second shot of the Moderna vaccine in March. She then caught a breakthrough case in July after visiting a friend who was unvaccinated. After two visits to the ER, Ayers was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia, where she was later put on a ventilator. Though she did show some signs of improvement, she developed sepsis and tragically died on Sept. 3.

Courtesy of Mandy Ayers

In her now-viral obituary, her children wrote, “She was preceded in death by more than 4,531,799 others infected with covid-19. She was vaccinated but was infected by others who chose not to be. The cost was her life,” it read.

“My mom was warm, outgoing, funny, and not afraid to share her opinion,” her daughter, Mandy Ayers, tells Scary Mommy. “The message that I want to share is that getting vaccinated is not about being political, it’s about all of us stepping up and doing what’s right. It’s about all of us working together for the common good.”

Courtesy of Mandy Ayers

Ayers was called “the best mom, wife, and Gagi in the entire world,” in the obituary and is survived by Mandy and her brother, Marc, as well as her husband, Terry, and her triplet five-year-old grandchildren Andie, Daniel, and Charlotte who “were the loves of her life.”

Since her obituary and story went viral, Mandy says, for the most part, they’ve received positive feedback and outreach from those who have read it. “We have received a ton of positive feedback from people that have been supportive of us… We have even received a ton of people that have received vaccinations because of our reading our story because of the impact it had on them.”

Courtesy of Mandy Ayers

Ayers was fully vaccinated and did so as soon as she could as she had a pre-existing condition, rheumatoid arthritis, and was already immunocompromised. In mid-July, Ayers and her husband drove to Mississippi to visit an unvaccinated friend whose husband had died from COVID earlier this year. Because breakthrough cases were relatively rare then, she believed her vaccination would keep her safe.

“We’re a family that believes in science, believes in the medical advice of the community, medical recommendations from doctors. We followed everything very strictly. So all that combined is kind of what we’re still in shock about how it didn’t seem to matter, at least for my mom,” Mandy’s brother told TODAY.

Courtesy of Mandy Ayers

Unfortunately, the family have also received hate mail and abhorrent messages from those who choose not to be vaccinated. “My brother has received threats and been called all sorts of names. My father received a phone call from someone that told him it was his fault his wife died. People are truly cruel,” Mandy says. “Those are the people that we need to pray for because that’s the kind of evil that keeps this pandemic spinning.”

In the end, Mandy believes the key to all of this this getting better is simple — vaccinate. “We will never achieve herd immunity and end this pandemic until we all are vaccinated, that’s the simple truth,” she says. “It’s just going to keep mutating and changing and those we love will keep on dying. Until then, we all must get the vaccine and wear masks to protect each other and save those that are vulnerable like my mother.”