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When the Corona Virus Takes a Loved One

As reported by Michelle Gunnin Bill is an RN and he was not feeling well. High fever. Cough. Over the course of the next two weeks, each update became more concerning.  And even though his first Covid tests came back negative, it was obvious he had the disease.  His lungs filled, an…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

As reported by Michelle Gunnin

Bill is an RN and he was not feeling well. High fever. Cough. Over the course of the next two weeks, each update became more concerning.  And even though his first Covid tests came back negative, it was obvious he had the disease. 

His lungs filled, and his medical team was taking each step needed to keep him alive. Before long, the ventilator was working overtime to try to keep him breathing, and the prayer warriors were working just as hard.

His wife, Terry, was full of faith, but stuck at home watching from a distance.  The ride was a rollercoaster.  Good report.  Bad report.  Back and forth the news would go, but as things progressed each day, the disease gained ground, creating a critical situation in a very short time. Yesterday, Terry reported:

When I spoke to Bill via FaceTime, although he was in a semi-coma. I told him that I desperately wanted him to come home to me. But I also could see how very, very tired he looked, even in a semi-coma. So, I told him to REST in the Lord and to let the Lord carry Him. He would either carry him home to me or carry him home to heaven. And we would wait to see which way he decided.

I cannot imagine. The pain of these words, spoken over the phone, tears at my soul. How utterly devastating.  But what faith.  To trust so completely. To know that sometimes even prayers of hundreds of warriors do not change the course.  To open her hands to the outcome, no matter what it was, even from a distance. All the pain of her story, brought her to this place.  All the years of hardship, taught her how to speak those words.  And then this.

Last night as he lay dying, they allowed me again to FaceTime with him and speak to him while he quietly and peacefully slipped away. A Precious, precious gift to me! And I hope to him. I hope he heard my voice and it brought him comfort.

And with that, the 2-week battle was over. What a twist of life.  What an unexpected sorrow. If that were not enough, now my friend is making arrangements in the midst of a pandemic that took her husband from her. 

How do you even do that if you cannot gather with family?  No hugs.  No touch.  No comforting. Only words spoken.

Comments (13)

  • Praying for Terry and the rest of Bill’s family. Such tragedy . . . and yet . . . God. Thanking God for his presence and praying His peace over this situation. Thanking God Terry had the opportunity to spend those last moments with Bill and that hospital staff were able to arrange that and for the technology to work, etc. Sending virtual hugs from many miles away in Santa Cruz, CA. May God bless each and every person who might be reading this – you too Michelle.

  • Unimaginable. Praying for this wife and the family. May this family feel His presence and peace in knowing Bill is with the Lord.

  • This is completely devastating. I am so thankful this man is with Jesus but what about his wife? There are no words for this.

  • Melinda, it is such a hard place to be. Lots of heartache these days. Thank God for his peace that passes understanding.

  • Sandy,
    Please pray for Terry. She has an autoimmune disease and the first bit of this she was taking care of him at home. Of course she is devastated, I am just praying for her health in the midst of such a stressful time.

  • Melinda, I will tell her about the book. I am sure that will be helpful to her at some point. I do know she has a great support system. Their kids have been taking some of the tasks to do, etc… She and Bill ran a Bed and Breakfast for years, so they have friends from all over the world who are checking in with her. Thanks for your prayers.

  • Yes, this is such sorrowful suffering when one can’t even be with a loved one as they die, nor can you have a funeral with friends to honor that life and bring comfort to one another. I pray your friend has a visitation from our Lord that brings her great comfort and perspective in the midst of such devastating loss.

    We are potentially facing this now with a loved one in a hospital near Detroit who wants to see us and we want to see her, but so far no phone communication has even been possible. She is in her 90’s and had previously been anticipating the time when she would leave for heaven, but dying alone in a hospital is not how any of us wants the earthly ending to be.

    I pray for my grandma and for those in isolation in hospitals, that God’s peace that passes all understanding will visit them, and they will know the truth of Roman 8:38,39:

    “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

  • Thanks Seth. We pray this is not the way she will go, but if it is, that she has a profound awareness of God with her.

  • Yes indeed Michelle. That peace beyond our own understanding has been a precious gift. It usually requires a journey on the road of pain, suffering and/or grief, but the gift of God with us is immeasurable. “For there will be no hope of real comfort if we do not first acknowledge that a great and perplexing gulf of grief and sorrow is present in our world and, at times, in our own lives. One does not see God in the whirlwind without confronting the whirlwind.”
    Douglas Mckelvey

  • Is there anything along with prayer we can do to help her in navigating what is ahead? I know that just having a shoulder to cry on while being comforted is probably what’s most needed, but since I can’t provide that, I wonder if this might be helpful for her soon: “From One Widow to Another: Conversations on the New You” by Miriam Neff. I bought that book for a pastor friend who just lost her husband 2 months ago. Many widows say it was the most helpful, compassionate and practical book they read after they had to face their shocking new reality.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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