Texas couple dies of COVID-19 while holding hands after 53 years of marriage – Insiderfolks, Betty, and Curtis Tarpley have lived most of their lives together. At the age of 80 and 79, they had years of falling in love, married, built careers, raised two children, and set out to retire around the world.
After 53 years of marriage, the high school sweethearts took their last breath with their arms clasped together in a Texas hospital room as they lost their COVID-19 battles minutes apart.
“They loved to travel, now their story is going around the world,” said the son of the couple, Tim. “I’m grateful for the time we’ve had and our relationship has been the best we’ve had in the last few weeks.”
Betty, 80, and Curtis Tarpley, 79, died on June 18 in Fort Worth, Texas, after having been diagnosed with COVID-19.
More about Tim, 52, explained that the trio was quarantined together when his mom started feeling sick a few weeks ago. She complained about a headache with toothache by June 9 and rushed to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth where she tested positive for COVID-19. Her husband was admitted two days later.
Curtis had been dealing with chronic health issues for more than a decade, but at first managed to hang on to his own. His wife’s health has gradually deteriorated. The hospital staff made an exception and let Tim and his sister, Tricia, visit their mother in person. As the pain took its toll, Betty told her children that she was “ready to go.”
“It was painful to hear,” said Tim. “I was trying to push the will back on her and get her ready, but she just knew it.”
Betty, 80, and Curtis Tarpley, 79, died on June 18 in Fort Worth, Texas, after being hospitalized with COVID-19.
Worse than that, Tim broke the news with Curtis, and not long after that, his dad took a turn for the worse. Betty and Curtis agreed to take supportive treatment, which included intense pain killers and no ventilators. Hospital workers sensed that the time was near on June 18 and transferred Betty to Curtis’ place.
“It seemed the best thing to do, the decent thing to do,” said Blake Throne, an Intensive Care Unit nurse who was handling Curtis. “We feel like we needed to put them together.”
Nurses moved Tarpley’s beds side by side with his rails down and placed Betty’s hand on Curtis’ head. When a nurse asked Curtis who was sitting next to him, the hospital ward appeared to melt away.
“His eyes opened and his eyebrows rose,” said Throne. “He perked up and tried to turn her around and look at her.”
Throne said that Betty died 20 minutes later and that Curtis died about half an hour after his wife.
More than that, “They were on so much medicine at that point, I don’t think they needed words to know they still had each other,” Tim said. “The nurses have been incredible, and I hope they know how much we appreciate their efforts to get beyond and beyond my parents.”
Tim clarified that both of his parents had been at home since February, so he really doesn’t know whether his mother has developed the deadly disease. Family and friends are planning to plan the celebration of life next year.
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