A Final Goodbye Among Siblings
Seeing your loved one for the last time and having that last conversation is an important part of the grieving process, and it almost didn’t happen for Marilyn MacIntosh as her brother neared death from COVID-19. But thanks to a donation of 50 iPads to Lahey Hospital & Medical Center from CDW Healthcare, she was able to say goodbye.
“We never expected to be able to see him again,” Marilyn explained. Bob, 61, had been living in a nursing home in Billerica when he contracted the coronavirus. He was fine one day, and then the next, he spiked a fever, a telltale sign of the virus.
Less than a week later, Bob took a turn for the worst. Marilyn and her other siblings couldn’t come see him because, like many hospitals, Lahey has had to significantly limit visitors in order to curb the spread of COVID-19. Fortunately, just days before that, the information technology company CDW had donated the iPads to Lahey, where they were divided among the critical care units in the hospital. “Lahey has been a valued customer of CDW’s for many years, and we have been privileged to help support the important work they do in their community,” said Adam Comitor, executive account manager at CDW Healthcare.
Liz Ferreira, BSN, RN, was one of Bob’s nurses on the 6th-floor COVID-19 unit. With a new iPad in hand, she coordinated FaceTime calls with the MacIntosh family. “It was very emotional for them,” Liz said.
That night, the NFL Draft was on TV, and Bob was a huge sports fan. For their last time ever speaking to each other, Marilyn and Bob discussed the Patriots’ picks. “I told him Belichick had traded out the first-round choice,” Marilyn recalled. “With brothers, you want to say you love them and everything, but they want to talk sports. So we did.” For a few minutes, they had some semblance of normalcy in a devastatingly difficult situation.
Bob passed away the next day, April 24. As sad as they were to lose him, Marilyn and her siblings were glad that they got to see his face and speak with him one last time.
For Liz, facilitating this call was personal. She lost her father to COVID-19 and didn’t get to see him before he passed away. “It’s a gift that we give to the patients and their families to get that closure that they wouldn’t necessarily get because they can’t be here,” Liz said. “I feel like I’m on a mission to make sure that everybody gets to talk to their loved ones.”
The MacIntoshes were so grateful for how the nurses treated Bob, they wrote a letter to them. “Thank you for your compassion and care of him as he fought to live through COVID-19,” it read.
They also included a photo of Bob with the 2004 Red Sox World Series trophy. Bob was ecstatic when they won that year, breaking the curse of the Bambino. “He said he could die happy and he did — 15 years and one day later.”