Katie Coelho

Wife Finds Husband’s Message To Her On Phone After He Dies From COVID-19

There seems to be no shortage of sadness in today's world. It's been tough to navigate, for some more than others, but even in the wake of tragedy, we sometimes find messages that leave us with hope.

Jon and Katie Coelho met back when they were both students at Western Connecticut State University.

Unsplash | Mikael Kristenson

Starting out as close friends, a relationship developed and they began dating. They got married in 2013 and went on to start a family. They have two children, Braedyn and Penelope, who are 2 and a half and 10 months, respectively.

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But even the journey to starting a family was a tough one.

Katie Coelho

Katie had two miscarriages and went through IVF. When Braedyn was born, he had severe neurological problems, and they were told he likely wouldn't live past 2 weeks.

Miraculously, he survived, and Katie began taking care of him full time while Jon worked at a courthouse to support them.

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When COVID-19 struck, Jon was deemed an essential worker, and did everything he could to try and protect his at-risk son.

Unsplash | Tai's Captures

“My husband wore gloves, masks, he washed his hands,” Katie said, “He was so super vigilant because he was so afraid of what would happen to our son if he caught it.”

But despite his extensive precautions and care, he still contracted the virus. As soon as he found out, he quarantined himself in a separate part of the house.

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What started as home isolation quickly turned into a hospital stay.

Katie Coelho

Though his symptoms started out mild, with fatigue and migraines, it escalated faster than anyone could have expected.

“Within 24 hours, he started coughing, and with the coughing fits, he wouldn’t be able to catch his breath in between,” Katie said, “The doctor told him to go to the hospital because he’d probably need nebulizer treatments.”

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It was a lot of back and forth, pendulum swings between him getting better and getting worse.

Katie Coelho

They started treatment with medications, but after a week he had to be intubated.

While they still expected him to make a full recovery, there were many moments of agitation, stress, and days where his condition would worsen rather than improve.

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But ultimately he passed away on April 22, 2020.

Katie Coelho

“The doctor I’d spoken to said, ‘We’re going to be able to wake your husband up in two days,’” Katie said, “And they started talking to me about recovery.”

Hours later, Jon passed away due to cardiac arrest brought on by the virus.

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Jon was just 32, with no pre-existing health conditions when he passed.

Unsplash | Daan Stevens

He had survived two bouts of cancer, but the last had been when he was 16, half his lifetime ago, and doctors said it was so long ago that it wouldn't present any complications. There was no reason to believe he wouldn't beat COVID-19, too.

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Katie, distraught, still went and collected her husband's things, including his phone.

Katie Coelho

She had originally opened it to start saving his pictures of himself and the kids, but she ended up discovering a note he'd left for her.

“I love you guys with all my heart and you’ve given me the best life I could have ever asked for,” part of the note read, “I am so lucky it makes me so proud to be your husband and the father to Braedyn and Penny.”

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Jon had also left a message for the kids.

GoFundMe | Katie Slayton

"Let Braedyn [know] he’s my best bud and I’m proud to be his father and for all the amazing things he’s done and continues to do," he wrote, "Let Penelope know she’s a princess and can have whatever she wants in life."

He also encouraged Katie to live her life and embrace love if it came her way again. "Don’t hold back, and if you meet someone know that if they love you and the kids [then] I love that for you. Always be happy no matter what!"

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Katie was shocked. She knew he must have written the note weeks ago.

Katie Coelho

“Even though he was fighting for his life for the past month, I know up until the last second he wanted to make sure the kids and I were okay,” Katie said, “He knew he had to say something to me because I haven’t been able to speak to him in so long.”

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Jon's friends are also doing their part to remember him and his amazing contributions to his family.

Jacob Wycoff

“Jon was the sole provider for the family, so he worked really hard to make sure Katie didn’t have to leave the house to take care of earning,” Jon's friend, Jacob Wycoff, said, “But when it was his time with the kids, he really, really enjoyed it.”

“They’re not going to grow up to know how amazing their dad was. And that really is sad to me, because he is — was — an amazing guy.”

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Of course it's never easy, but at least Katie will keep his memory alive and make sure their children know what a great father he was.

Katie Coelho

“My kids aren’t going to remember their dad — it’s going to be me making sure they remember their dad and know their dad,” she said, “So I have that note to say, ‘Your dad was really sick and fighting for his life, but he wanted you to know how much he loved you.’”

A GoFundMe has been started by the family to cover medical costs for Jon, and future medical costs for Braedyn.

h/t: BuzzFeed News

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