MOORHEAD — The battle the community has waged against the pandemic will be talked about in regional history books for years to come.
For just over 30 days, Val Laidlaw wrote letters to her son who was hospitalized with COVID-19. She became a cheerleader for her son, but in the end, the words would be a comfort for all.
"I was 21 when I had him, so he has been such a big part of my life," Laidlaw said.
Laidlaw is proud of all her grown children, including Kyle Roos.
"He made friends so easily, and he always looked out for them," Laidlaw remembered. "(He was) just a friendly, lovable guy."
He played Fargo youth hockey and soccer and was also a big fan of professional sports, favoring local teams like the Vikings and Twins. He enjoyed watching hockey games, as well.
A smart kid, Roos went on to North Dakota State University to become a pharmacist. He later worked and raised his family in the Twin Cities. He cherished his role as a father.
"He was a proud hockey dad of a girl," Laidlaw said.
Since he had asthma, Roos was careful when the pandemic hit, but he was infected anyway. He tested positive and was hospitalized.
From the day he started his battle, Laidlaw wrote him a letter.
"Dear Kyle, I know you are fighting. ... It's in our Viking blood.
"I remember you before your first breath. So still, for a moment. Then, you breathed in and let out a strong cry," her letter read. "You are a warrior, you are fighting a tough battle and you needed another weapon. Now you have it. We are all hopeful and praying for you, Kyle."
Every day, she wrote her son a letter, never missing a day.
"I just wanted him to know how proud I am of him and how happy and honored I am to have been his mom," Laidlaw said.
The hope was Roos would recover, then come home and read the letters and share them with his daughters. But just hours before Christmas, his loved ones and friends said goodbye to him via video chat. COVID-19 would take their kind son, father, husband and friend.
Laidlaw then wrote a letter no mom could imagine writing. The last one.
"You put up such a strong battle, Kyle. I am so proud of you," she wrote.
With such a strong spirit, his loved ones know that he is still a part of them. They have released the letters Laidlaw wrote to her son for others to receive inspiration from. To read more of those letters from mom and learn more about Kyle and his family, click on the following links.