In many ways, COVID-19 has been perceived as a distant threat or a conspired hoax of a virus blown out of proportion.
But it’s stories like the one of Johnny Lee Peoples and his wife Cathy Darlene Peoples that bring the harsh reality of the pandemic close to home in the most heart-throbbing way.
According to their son Shane, the North Carolina couple had been fighting coronavirus for a month whenever they were placed in the same room for final goodbyes.
Not long after, Johnny and Cathy clutched hands together just before passing within minutes of one another on September 2nd.
“Everything just went south, everything just got worse,” Shane told WBTV. “The next day [medical staff] put them in the same room, same ICU room, they put their hands together, the nurses gathered around and they passed within four minutes of each other.”
“They were married 48 years, been together 50, they walked hand in hand for those 50 years,” the grieving son explained of his parents’ enduring, unbreakable bond.
His father was a sergeant in the Army, and his mom worked as both a teacher’s assistant and lab technician.
In their joint obituary, Johnny was described by his family as a man who “loved coaching youth sports, playing music and building the family tree.” Darlene loved “crafting, listening to music, and playing cards.
The 67-year-old husband and 65-year-old wife both “enjoyed fishing and spending quality time with family and friends.”
They are survived by their 3 children, 9 grandchildren, as well as their precious poodles, Macy and Sammy.
“The lives of Mom and Dad were stolen by a virus that many joke about on a daily basis or just straight out believe it’s a hoax of some sort,” Shane wrote in a Facebook tribute to his parents. “Both of them took this pandemic seriously and still got sick, still died,” he continued. “My parents weren’t just a blessing for me, my brother, my sister, our spouses, and our children. They were a blessing to every person that met them.”
Shane emphasized that they both “loved their family very much and did anything and everything they could possibly do for them,”
“I had some pretty darn awesome parents,” doted the proud son.
He also pleaded with people to take the necessary precautions surrounding COVID, including washing your hands and social distancing.
“Hold your family close,” Shane added. “Treat every moment with them like it’s your last, it could very well be. Love and keep on loving.”