Charlie Samuels lost his father and stepmother within a week to the coronavirus, but says the only thing that gives him comfort is the fact that they were “together until the end.”
Robert Samuels, 83, and Karen Brown, 88, died three days apart, but they were side by side at Englewood Hospital in New Jersey, according to Charlie. The grieving son described his father as “the most interesting person on Earth” and his mother-in-law as “the sweetest”.
Brown first fell ill and Robert soon fell ill. The couple from Piermont, New York, were both admitted to the same hospital in hopes of sharing a room together. Robert insisted on going to the hospital so as not to infect anyone else, said his son.
Charlie says arrangements have been made for them to stay together for about 24 hours after the couple, who have been together for decades, have arrived at the hospital. It’s a little bit of humanity that has helped this family endure an illness that has killed thousands of people in the Tri-State region.
“It reassured me that they were together, and with COVID, most people literally die alone,” Charlie told NBC New York.
His father died on April 26 and Karen followed him three days later.
Robert was a journalist. He told stories of demonstrations against war and civil rights, according to his obituary. He also interviewed many personalities, including Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy.
He ended up in a wheelchair after suffering from a rare neurological disorder, said his son. “After he died, I realized that he was truly an inspiration to others. He really knew how to extract the juice of life. “
Karen was a social worker who worked with emotionally disturbed children. Their love story spanned three decades. Charlie says he is heartbroken but also grateful to the hospital staff.
“I think it was one of the most useful things in my grieving process to know that they were together until the end,” he said.