Elderly couple die of COVID-19 minutes apart, holding hands
Even after 53 years of marriage, high school sweethearts Curtis and Betty Tarpley were still by each other’s side in the end, holding hands as they passed on.
Betty, 80, was the first to get infected by the novel coronavirus in Texas, USA, the couple’s son Tim told CBS-owned KTVT in an interview published on June 25. She was also the first to go, just less than an hour before 79-year-old Curtis.
Tim said he took his mother to the hospital after she started showing symptoms and found out, shortly after, that his father had COVID-19 as well.
The couple was then admitted to the hospital, albeit being placed in different rooms. One day, Betty told her son that she was finally ready to go.
“My mom called me and said, ‘Hey, I just want to let you know, I’m ready to go…’ I yelled and screamed, and thought maybe if I talked to her I could inspire her to have one last bit of will to live,” Tim said.
Tim then called his father, who asked how Betty was doing from his hospital room on another floor.
“He said ‘how’s your mom?’ I said ‘Not good. She may not make it past tomorrow,’ and it was like, at that moment knowing that my mom was going to go, it was okay for him to go,” Tim said.
It was then that a certain health worker from the Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital, whom Tim had never met before, helped make the elderly couple’s special ending possible—an act the son is extremely grateful for.
“It was some doctor or nurse named Blake… that’s all we knew about him. He really went out of his way to get my mom moved from her room to his room. And then they just placed their hands, near each other, and next thing we know they grabbed each other’s hands. And that’s how they went,” the doting son recalled.
“There’s still so many, you know, unseen heroes that like to help facilitate their ending,” he added.
Tim noted that while his parents are “just normal people,” Curtis and Betty’s love story is now known in the whole world due to their sweet ending. Ian Biong /ra
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