After being married for 30 years, one couple died together from COVID-19 complications while holding each other — and the hands of their children.
Paul Blackwell, 62, and Rose Mary Blackwell, 65, passed away on Sunday after two weeks in intensive care and several days on ventilators at Harris Methodist Hospital, their son Shawn Blackwell told CNN.
They were both teachers in the Grand Prairie Independent School District in Grand Prairie, Texas. Rose Mary was a second grade teacher and had just reached her 20th year at Travis World Language Academy. Paul was a PE teacher and football coach at Fannin Middle school.
Blackwell said his parents worked up until they became sick in December. The family made the difficult decision after several days to take them off life support after doctors confirmed there was no chance of recovery, according to Blackwell.
“Doctors said they hadn’t seen any progression at all, and they were slowly declining in their overall vital functions,” said Blackwell. “It got to the point where it was very far gone and that there was nothing else they could do.”
“Me and my brother came to the conclusion to let them go at peace together. They were together and holding hands. My brother and I were both holding my parent’s hands as well, so all four of us were holding each other’s hands as they were both removed from the ventilator.”
The Grand Prairie Independent School District expressed their condolences to the family and the school community in a post to social media on Monday.
“Rose Mary and Paul will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their family, friends, coworkers, and students both current and former,” the school district wrote in a post to Facebook.
A GoFundMe page has been organized to help raise relief funds for the Blackwells as they make arrangements for their loss. The couple leaves behind four children and 20 grandchildren.
“I just want people to know I am proud of the people my mom and dad were and proud of the things they accomplished,” said Blackwell. “They were the definition of the greatest parents and grandparents ever.”
As tempting as it is to travel and visit your loved ones this holiday season — protect them and yourselves and stay home.