A dedicated husband died less than three weeks after his wife of 30 years passed away from coronavirus.
JoAnn Reck died from coronavirus at the age of 86 on July 12, just three weeks before her husband, 90-year-old Sam Reck, died of the same virus. Thankfully, Sam was able to visit JoAnn in hospital before she died.
JoAnn had been taken to Florida’s Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center to be treated, where she received one last visit from her beloved husband. Their family are convinced that Sam picked up the virus from his wife, but it was a risk he was willing to take in order to say goodbye one last time.
You can see their emotional final goodbye here:
There wasn’t anything any of us could have done to have talked him out of that. He would have gotten himself there one way or the other to see her. I do believe that.
The couple had been hailed as the ‘Romeo and Juliet’ of their nursing home, after they were forced to have ‘socially distant’ visits as a result of the pandemic.
However, once JoAnn had fallen ill with the virus, all Sam cared about was getting to say goodbye to his wife of 30 years in person.
Even after getting diagnosed with the virus himself, Sam told JoAnn’s son from her first marriage, Scott Hooper, he didn’t regret visiting his wife for a single second.
‘He said no matter what happens, he was very happy he had the opportunity to say goodbye and hold her hand one more time,’ Scott recalled.
JoAnn was moved to a Florida care home last year after she was diagnosed with dementia, and Sam moved into an apartment on the same block.
Staff working at Florida Presbyterian Homes helped the couple find safe ways to see one another during the pandemic, such as Sam sitting on a balcony outside his apartment, while JoAnn sat in the dining area below.
It was because of this that they earned their title of the nursing home’s Romeo and Juliet – who also had to meet in secret over a balcony.
Because of JoAnn’s dementia, she found it difficult to understand why Sam couldn’t spend as much time with her.
‘I think they had gone through so much emotional stress the prior three months because they couldn’t see each other, really, they couldn’t touch each other,’ Holly explained.
‘Even though they were able to see each other from the balcony, it wasn’t the same. My father would go every day and spend eight hours or more with her, and then COVID happened. I think it really took an emotional toll on both of them.’
When JoAnn was diagnosed with coronavirus, the family opted to move her into palliative care, instead of putting her on a ventilator. Sam passed away of the same virus just three weeks after his beloved wife.
Speaking of her last conversation with her father, Holly recalled:
He told me he had lived a good life. He never expected to live to 90, and the most important thing to him was that he had taken care of his family.
He let me know how much he loved all of us and I let him know how much I loved him and how much I appreciated everything he had done for me as a father through the years.
Rest in peace, JoAnn and Sam.