(CNN) — Mary Kepler and her husband, Wilford, died hours apart after a lifetime together.
The pair was in a Wisconsin hospital after contracting coronavirus, according to CNN affiliate WTMJ. Family members are unsure how the two were infected, the affiliate reported.
But because they both had the disease, they were able to stay together in their last moments — something most coronavirus patients can’t do with their loved ones. Family members across the nation have had to say their final goodbyes over FaceTime or in texts read as overwhelmed medical institutions have restricted visitors to help slow the virus’s spread.
But the couple, who had been together for 73 years, had beds next to each other and got to say “I love you” to each other one last time before they died Saturday, their granddaughter Natalie Lameka told the affiliate.
“They had been holding hands and that was just heartbreaking to hear but also heartwarming to hear,” Lameka said. “And we were just so thankful they were together and were aware they were together,” Lameka said.
The two were like the family’s “glue that holds us together,” their granddaughter said, and while losing them hurts, knowing they never had to part makes the pain a little easier.
“It was definitely hard,” she told the news station. “But it was bittersweet.”
Mary Kepler died six hours after her husband, the affiliate reported.