Charlie Samuels lost both his father and stepmother in one week to the coronavirus but he says the only thing that gives him solace is the fact that they were "together until the end."
Robert Samuels, 83, and Karen Brown, 88, died three days apart but they were side by side at Englewood hospital in New Jersey, according to Charlie. The grieving son described his father as "the most interesting person on Earth" and his stepmom as "the sweetest."
Brown got sick first and Robert became ill not long after. The couple from Piermont, New York, were both admitted to the same hospital in hopes of sharing a room together. Robert was insistent on taking himself to the hospital as not to infect anyone else, his son said.
Charlie says an arrangement was made for them to stay together about 24 hours after the couple, who had been together for decades, arrived at the hospital. It was a small bit of humanity that helped this family endure a disease that has killed thousands in the tri-state area.
"It gave me solace that they were together, and with COVID, most people are literally dying alone," Charlie told NBC New York.
His father died on April 26 and Karen followed just three days later.
Robert was a journalist. He told stories about anti-war and civil rights demonstrations, according to his obituary. He also interviewed many prominent figures, including Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy.
He ended up in a wheelchair after suffering a rare neurological disorder, his son said. "After he died, I realized he was really an inspiration to other people. He really knew how to squeeze the juice out of life."
Karen was a social worker who worked with emotionally disturbed children. Their love story spanned three decades. Charlie says he's heartbroken but also grateful for hospital staff.
“I think has been one of the most helpful things in my grieving process to know that they were together until the end," he said.