Little Girl Keeps Asking When Her 'Mommy' Who Tragically Died of Coronavirus Is 'Coming Home'
"My daughter asked every day ... about when mommy was coming home," the father of 3-year-old Leona said
A toddler in New York is still asking when her mother — who died earlier this year of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) — will return home.
Gabrielle Gayle, 34, died in April when she was six months pregnant, CNN reported.
Gabrielle's 3-year-old daughter Leona still asks when her mother is coming home, her dad and Gabrielle's husband, Leon Gayle, told the outlet.
"My daughter asked every day ... about when mommy was coming home," Leon said in an interview with CNN. "And every day we had to tell her that she was in the hospital, that she's getting better. And that hopefully, you know, she'll be home soon ... the day she died, I had to tell her that her mommy wasn't coming home again."
"Leona still misses her mommy and she will ask periodically for her," Leon added. "I have to re-explain everything again."
Gabrielle and Leon both contracted COVID-19 in March — along with several other members of their family — but while Leon recovered, Gabrielle's condition deteriorated.
Gabrielle was admitted to the hospital on March 28 and placed on a ventilator a few days later, CNN reported. Then her kidneys began to fail, and she was placed on dialysis.
Leon told CNN that doctors told the family that they had to prioritize Gabrielle or her unborn child, whom they named Gabriel. Leon said that they "always chose not to do the delivery" because of the risk that Gabrielle would "lose too much blood and die."
Four weeks after Gabrielle was admitted into the hospital, her baby died. Three days later, Gabrielle died after a fungus in her blood led to liver failure.
Leon told CNN that his wife of six years was "very caring and loving," and Gabrielle, an elementary special education teacher, was described by one of her former colleagues as "full of life, love and laughter."
After Gabrielle's death, a GoFundMe was set up to "support Leona to continue her acting/modeling career and her future endeavors."
"Gabrielle was Leona’s drama and modeling agent," the page reads. "Leona has had the opportunity to cross several stages as a model. Leona’s made her acting debut on the Fox show, The Prodigal Son and NBC’s New Amsterdam."
"This fund will support Leona to continue her acting/modeling career and her future endeavors," the page adds. "Please join me in this special cause for Leona, we all know Gabrielle would have planned for her."
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.