Marriage vows are promises each partner in a couple makes to the other during their wedding ceremony. With most countries experiencing high divorce rates, individuals who follow through with these promises are very rare in today’s world. When his wife, Mary Smallwood, was diagnosed with COVID-19, Jimmy who was 77-year-old decided not to leave her side. That choice would eventually cost him his life, but his family says he wouldn’t have done anything differently.
The high school sweethearts were married for 60 years. Mary was the first to test positive for COVID-19 after a family get-together at Christmas. Surprisingly, Jimmy tested negative at the time. LaDonna Smallwood, their daughter, also tested negative and begged her father to stay with her during quarantine. But Jimmy refused, even though he was at high risk of complications if he’d caught the virus due to pre-existing medical conditions.
“I knew with his heart, he couldn’t make it,” LaDonna said this week, seated in the living room at Mary’s house near Weaver. “He said ‘hush,’ that he knew he was going to heaven if he died, and he wasn’t losing his wife.”
In early January, both husband and wife ended up getting checked in the emergency room as their conditions deteriorated. The last Mary and Jimmy saw of each other was during their stay in Regional Medical Center in Anniston. Afterward, they were kept in the hospital’s COVID ward in separate rooms, two doors apart from each other.
Mary had to be put on a ventilator, LaDonna said, and Jimmy seemed to understand that something was happening with his wife. He became agitated several times, and nurses would put LaDonna, herself a nurse, on the phone to calm him.
Jimmy’s heart eventually gave out. He had finally had too much from the stress of the virus and hospitalization and the sedation required for ventilation. After 20 minutes of work to resuscitate him, LaDonna said, she told doctors to stop. Jimmy died Jan. 13 at 1:34 a.m., she said.
Mary has since returned home, but she needs to stay on an oxygen machine. She’s expected to have the machine for three or four weeks. Asked how she was holding up, Mary answered “Fair.” On the other end of the couch is another big recliner, empty, where Jimmy used to sit. “I miss my husband more than anything.”
The son, Phillip, said he knows his dad couldn’t have been convinced to do anything differently, even if he’d known how things would turn out. “He loved his wife, and that’s the way he was,” he said.
News Source: AnnistonStar