An Ohio couple married for 70 years died together on Jan. 16, holding hands ahead of their scheduled vaccination Tuesday, CNN reported.
The couple, Dick Meek, 89, and Shirley Meek, 87, parents of five, grandparents of 13, and great-grandparents of 28, died at the Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, as their condition deteriorated ever since the duo contracted COVID-19 last month, according to CNN. (RELATED: Biden Predicts US Will Have 100,000 More Coronavirus Deaths In Around A Month)
Four days following their 70th Wedding Anniversary on Dec. 22, 2020, Dick and Shirley tested positive for COVID-19, experiencing up-and-down symptoms they mistook for a cold.
After being tested for COVID-19 at an urgent care facility, their illness aggravated, eventually resulting in Dick being admitted Jan. 2 to Coshocton Regional Medical Center and Shirley two days after, CNN reported.
As their condition degenerated, they had to be transferred to a second hospital. Once they were even about to be transferred to different hospitals, but the staff helped ensure that they would be transferred together to Riverside Methodist Hospital.
When the family heard their parents only had a few more days to live, they requested their parents be placed in the same room. “We didn’t want them separated because that was their biggest thing in life that they would be together,” Howell told CNN. “We wanted them to be holding hands. We wanted them to be together. We wanted their favorite music to be playing softly in the background.”
The staff helped fulfill the family’s wishes. A nurse compiled a two-hour playlist of the couple’s favorite songs and played them as they held hands for the final time.
Shirley was the first to pass, and then Dick, on Jan. 16, within minutes of each other.
“They never had to go through ‘until death do us part,'” Dick and Shirley’s daughter Debbie Howell told CNN. “They never had to do that because they were together and we’re ever so grateful.”
The Coshocton, Ohio, couple met each other in high school and were together ever since. “You read love at first sight and you think it’s not true,” the family told CNN. “Well, it was love at first sight for my dad.”
They experienced a life full of love and passion, the family said in the couple’s obituary. They spent their time together on adventures ranging from traveling the world to skydiving to making appearances at special events for their grandchildren, even when they grew very old. Above all, they always made time for each other, having a standing date scheduled for 3 p.m. every day to toast to each other, the obituary read.