A heartbroken wife from New York, whose husband died of COVID-19, said her final goodbye by playing their wedding song on Facetime as his soul left his body.
Maura Lewinger’s 42-year-old husband Joe died of coronavirus on March 28.
Speaking about his last moments to CNN, Maura said she was grateful that she got the chance to virtually be with her dying husband.
“I thanked him for being the most amazing husband, for making me feel cherished and loved every single day,” she said, adding that she had one more song lined up for him but his pulse flattened out before she could play that.
“I played our wedding song for him. And then that was it,” said Maura. “So I was with him when he passed.”
Joe, who has left three children and a wife to mourn him, worked as an assistant principal at The Mary Louis Academy in Queens.
He did not have any health complications before being diagnosed with coronavirus. His wife said his condition started deteriorating with mild symptoms at the start.
It all began with a minor fever after which, the situation escalated to respiratory trouble.
Maura told CNN that she tried to be with Joe all the time for his duration of stay at the hospital. She did all the effort “to not let him feel alone.”
Finally, when the doctors informed her that Joe’s chances of making it out of the disease alive had diminished, she “begged him not to leave us and told him we all needed him.”
Maura waited for her husband to recover at their home in Long Island. In Joe’s final hours, she played their wedding song on repeat until the doctors declared him dead.
“He always had a listening ear, no matter what you were talking about, Joe was always listening. He always felt like you were the most important person in the room,” Maura told CNN.
“He always took care of me, got me my coffee and helped me in every way.” Maura is having a hard time accepting the death of her husband.
She said: “It sometimes just feels like he’s at work.”
Urging people to be safe and practice social distancing, the grieving wife said: “People are just not being careful. People are being so invincible-feeling and they think it can’t happen to them.
“You cannot, cannot, be with people that are not in your house. As sad and lonely and everything that is, you must, must stay with only the people in your house.”
To help the family through this time, a GoFundMe page has been set up which has raised around $90,000 so far.
The page says: “Joe was funny, smart, compassionate and selfless… always putting others before himself. A loving husband, father, friend and school assistant principal.
“He worked hard every single day to do this part to make this world a better place. He touched the lives of everyone he met and was always willing to offer help, support, guidance, and advice.”
GoFundMe has started a campaign to raise money for people and organizations affected by COVID-19.
“By donating to the GoFundMe.org general relief fund, the donation supports many individuals who have started fundraisers on GoFundMe related to this pandemic, and organizations dedicated to serving the people,” the company told PEOPLE.
“Donations to the general relief fundraiser of GoFundMe.org, a United States charity, are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law, and will broadly support communities impacted by coronavirus.”