The face of Covid-19 : Lancaster woman remembers husband

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LANCASTER, N.Y. (WIVB) — After a Lancaster couple was diagnosed with the Covid-19, a now widowed woman is remembering her husband.​

“When he left here in an ambulance, I never expected to be bringing him home in an urn,” said Maureen Rivera.

Jose and Maureen Rivera were inseparable. “We always did everything together,” she said.

They were both diagnosed with Covid-19, this past March.  But Jose had a higher risk due to his age and having Diabetes.

“We we’re watching this movie and he was shaking uncontrollably, said Rivera. “And I said, what’s wrong with you?”

Jose was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital by ambulance April 4th.

“This is the real face of Covid. This was a happy-go-lucky guy,  knocked down by a virus to the point he could no longer speak, think or breath on his own,” she said.

Just 20 days later, Jose passed away.

“The day he died I did go into see him at the hospital,” she said. “Even being a nurse, it wasn’t easy to see him like that. “

Now Maureen is taking time to remember Jose at his best, the man known for helping anyone, with anything.  It’s what attracted her to him in the first place.

“When I met him I was like I like this guy,” she said. “I just couldn’t believe how nice he was.”

She looks back on when they were first married and how he fought Cancer, defying the odds. She says it made the time they shared even more meaningful. 

“I am so thankful for the 15 years we had together because with the Cancer it could’ve been one year and I know that,” she said.

And they certainly made good use of the time they were given.

“We really did have a lot of fun together and because of our past I think we appreciated each other so much more,” she said. “We went to Florida 4 times last year and traveled as much as we could.”

Maureen says it’s the little things that will sting the most.

“When you send a card it isn’t going to Have both our names, it was always Jose and Maureen,” she said. “Those are the things that are going to be hard for me. “

But says her faith is strong and she knows she see him again someday.  “I did whisper in his ear and I said when it’s my time, be waiting.”

Maureen hopes to start a support group for the many others going through this same situation. 

Gabrielle Mediak is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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