After 53 years of marriage, a Texas couple died from Covid-19 while holding hands
A beloved couple who died 50 minutes apart while holding hands at a hospital in Fort Worth are among the more than 2,200 coronavirus-related fatalities in Texas as the state has reported a surge in infections that has brought the total to at least 125,000 cases statewide Wednesday.
Curtis Tarpley, 79, and his wife Betty, 80, died last week at the Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital after brief battles with the virus, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
The couple’s son Tim Tarpley, a personal trainer who also works with Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, told the publication that his mother began feeling ill a few weeks ago but believed it was a sinus infection or a toothache.
Son Tim Tarpley says his parents, Curtis and Betty Tarpley, were both diagnosed with COVID-19 at the same time in June. His mother was admitted to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth shortly before his father, and she declined faster.
“My mom called me and said, ‘Hey, I want to let you know I’m ready to go.’ And I yelled and screamed,” Tim Tarpley said.
He then called his dad, who was on a different floor of the hospital.
“He said, ‘How’s your mom?’ I said, ‘Well, she’s not good. She may not make it past tomorrow.’ It was like at that moment, knowing that my mom was then gonna go, it was OK for him to go,” Tim Tarpley said.
Tim Tarpley says nurses he’d never met, especially one he only knows as Blake, made his parents’ last moments special by making sure the two were in the same room.
“He [Blake] really went out of his way to get my mom moved from her room to his room, and then, he just placed their hands near each other. Next thing we know, they grabbed each other’s hand, and that’s how they went,” Tim Tarpley said.
Tarpley said he doesn’t know how his parents got Covid-19, but he said he had to quarantine because he caught it from them. He said his mom and dad had mostly been in isolation since March, but he visited them every couple of days to check in.
That time together made their relationship even stronger, which Tarpley said gave him “another level of peace.”
He said the family and friends hope to be able to have a celebration of Betty and Curtis’ life next year.