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H1N1 Claims Life Of 41-Year-Old North Texas Father

KRUM (CBSDFW.COM) - As the flu continues to spread across North Texas one woman says a deadly strain of the H1N1 virus killed her otherwise healthy husband.

Chris Waskom was very involved with his church in Krum. The congregation and his family say his death has been devastating but has pushed them to spread a very important message.

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Lacy Waskom, Chris' widow, said, "It's unexplainable. People need to take care of themselves."

While the North Texas mother struggles to understand she's finding in times likes these she has to lean on her faith. "You have to learn to forgive. Remember that the good Lord will pick you up and carry you on."

Naturally, Lacy said she would have never imagined that her 41-year-old husband would die of the flu. "[He had] no pre-existing medical condition… he didn't smoke. He was a perfectly healthy," she said.

Lacy recalled how Chris came down with a cough and fever just before Christmas. She took him to Wise Regional Hospital in Decatur where she says doctors told him he had bronchitis.

"I never got his fever below 100. The whole entire time that he was sick he was coughing, wheezy."

Several trips to the doctor resulted in the same diagnosis and then on New Years Eve Chris died at home. Lacy said, "He laid down to take a nap and two hours later I went to check on him and found him."

According to Lacy, the medical examiner said Chris died from H1N1, or swine flu, and pneumonia.

"It scares me to death that it was not diagnosed properly," Lacy said adding, "It's hard to explain or understand."

Chris was a plumber and had just started his own company. The Waskom's don't have health insurance. While Chris and Lacy didn't get a flu shot they made sure all of their children were vaccinated.

The father of six was very involved with the Open Range Cowboy Church. In fact, he was training to be a minister. The couple's church family is helping the family cope.

Thinking about Chris Pastor Mickey McNary said, "He got involved really quickly with the youth. The youth just attached themselves to him. They just loved him, because he was always upbeat."

Lacy, who since her husband's death has gotten a flu shot, now more than ever is relying on her church and her faith. As far as her husband, "There's part of him still here," she said pointing to her heart. "He'll pick me up and carry me when I fall."

To help the family, the Open Range Cowboy Church in Krum has opened a fund in Chris Waskom's name at Sanger Bank.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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