A North Carolina family grieves after a husband and wife died just minutes apart following a month-long struggle with COVID-19.
Johnny Lee Peoples, 67, and his wife Cathy Darlene Peoples, 65, died on Sept. 2 at Novant Health Rowan Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, according to their shared obituary.
“They were married 48 years, been together 50, they walked hand in hand for those 50 years,” said surviving son Shane Peoples.
The couple battled COVID-19 for 30 days when they joined in the same room together for their final goodbye.
“Everything just went south, everything just got worse,” Shane told WBTV. “The next day [medical staff] put them in the same room, same ICU room, they put their hands together, the nurses gathered around and they passed within four minutes of each other.”
Both local residents of North Carolina, Johnny was a sergeant in the U.S. Army and worked for the NC Department of Corrections. Meanwhile, Cathy worked as teacher assistant at Salisbury Academy and a lab technician at LabCorp, according to a tribute.
Loved ones say Johnny “loved coaching youth sports, playing music and building the family tree,” while Cathy enjoyed crafting, listening to music and playing cards. In addition, the couple enjoyed fishing and “spending quality time with family and friends.”
Shane says if there’s a lesson people can learn from everything his family have experienced, it’s that people need to understand that in some cases, COVID-19 is fatal.
“The lives of Mom and Dad were stolen by a virus that many joke about on a daily basis or just straight out believe it’s a hoax of some sort. Both of them took this pandemic seriously and still got sick, still died,” Shane confesses in a Facebook post.
“They both loved their family very much and did anything and everything they could possibly do for them,” he continued. “I had some pretty darn awesome parents.”
Shane also encouraged people to wear a mask, wash their hands and practice social distancing among the ongoing pandemic.
“Hold your family close,” he added. “Treat every moment with them like it’s your last, it could very well be. Love and keep on loving.”