On June 18, after 53 years of a married couple, the two died within an hour of each other from a coronavirus in a Texas hospital, spending their last moments together holding hands, a their son told CNN.
Tim Tarpley said his 80-year-old mother had been sick for a few days when he took her to Texas Health Harris Fort Worth Methodist Hospital and discovered that she had Covid-19.
She was admitted on June 9 and her 79-year-old father was admitted on June 11.
It took him a while to make peace with his decision.
“I just shouted” No! “I was like,” I have too many, too many things to do in this life that I want to show you, and I’m not ready, “he said.
Hospital staff let Tarpley and his sister visit their mother twice, he said.
During the first visit, she was heavily medicated and did not really know they were there.
She was alert and making jokes when they returned the next day, but Tarpley said it was clear that she was uncomfortable and the doctors said she did not have much time.
Tarpley said he called his father to inform him of his mother’s health and to tell him how much he loved her.
Shortly after receiving the update from her children, Curtis’ oxygen levels dropped.
“I really feel like he likes to fight because he was supposed to do it and once he knew she was not going to make it, so he agreed, you know, taking her home, “said Tarpley. “I think he fought because he thought the team needed him, but he was also tired and he was in pain. ”
It happened so quickly that Tarpley and his sister couldn’t see their father again.
“The right thing to do was to bring them together”
Tarpley said that a nurse he had never spoken to had arranged for his mother and father to be together. They both decided to take comfort care, which involved giving them large doses of medication to relieve their pain.
“It seemed like the right thing to do was put them together,” said Blake Throne, one of the critical care nurses working with Curtis. “I started to wonder if it was even possible, then I started to shake the tree to try to do it. “
The throne said it took a team effort, but they were able to move Betty to the ICU, so that she and her husband could be side by side.
When another nurse told Curtis that Betty was there, he tried to look at her. But the Throne said he was very weak.
“His eyes opened and his eyebrows rose,” said the Throne. “He knew what we said. He knew she was there. ”
The throne said he then put Betty’s hand on Curtis’ arm.
Communicate without words
“I honestly think they were so incapable that all they could do was speak with their soul or something, a special unspoken language,” said Tarpley. “They obviously knew each other well enough to be able to communicate without words. ”
Betty died after about 20 minutes and Curtis died about 45 minutes later, said the Throne.
Tarpley said he was grateful for the empathy and kindness of the hospital staff.
“This is what makes them better,” he said.
Tarpley said he doesn’t know how his parents got Covid-19, but he said he had to be quarantined because he caught it. He said his mother and father have been mostly isolated since March, but he visited them every two days to register.
This time together strengthened their relationship, which, according to Tarpley, gave him “another level of peace.”
He said family and friends hope to celebrate the lives of Betty and Curtis next year.