RAHWAY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A New Jersey woman is frantically searching for her mother’s cellphone and other items disappeared after her mother passed away in the hospital from COVID-19.
Yolanda Blaize’s 76-year-old mother, Barbara, passed away at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Rahway, N.J., reports CBS2’s Cory James.
“I know they did the best for my mother, I’m positive,” she said, showing grace while facing enormous heartbreak. “As soon as I got myself together, I sent the hospital five pizza pies, two salads and some drinks because I just wanted to let them know I appreciated everything they did.”
Hours later, Blaize tells CBS2 she called the hospital and asked how to pick up her mom’s cellphone and a necklace that her mother wore for nearly 50 years.
“She always had that necklace, she always wore that necklace,” she said.
But according to Blaize, for two weeks she got the runaround. No one knew where to find her mother’s belongings – specifically the iPhone that Blaze says had 9-months of voice recordings her mom wanted her to hear.
“When she got sick, she asked me to swap phones with her so that I could listen to it and I just kept saying, ‘Don’t worry mom, I’m going to listen to them’ but now there’s nothing to listen to,” she said. “It’s really difficult, I don’t know what my mother was trying to tell me. It could have been gibberish, it could have been whatever. It could have been ‘I love you,’ I don’t know, but I’ll never know.”
On Tuesday Kirk Tice, the president and CEO of the hospital, called Blaize and left her this voicemail: “We continue to look for them … we don’t know exactly where they were lost between here, the state morgue and funeral home.”
Now Blaize is only left with memories, pictures and one video of her mom dancing, but she says it doesn’t replace the one thing she feels can help her heal.
“Hearing her voice, it can help me get through it,” she said.
Legacy Funeral Home would not give CBS2 any information about what happened, and while a spokesperson for Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital would not go on camera, she says they plan to reimburse Blaize for the lost items.
She also says all valuables belonging to someone who dies will now be kept under lock and key.