coronavirus illinois

Couple Married for 76 Years Spends Last Moments Together While Battling COVID-19

Carmen Siciliano, who was 98 years old, lost his battle against the coronavirus with his wife right at his side

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With their daughters' determination and the assistance of hospital staff, a suburban husband and wife, who were married for 76 years, were able to spend their final moments together.

Carmen Siciliano, and his wife, Mary, both in their 90s, met when Carmen was 22, years old, and Mary was 17. As the story goes, Mary was actually interested in someone else at first, their family said.

"She had a crush on my uncle, but ended up falling in love with my father and marrying him," said the couple's daughter, Gail Grazian.

The Sicilianos were residing in an assisted living facility when both contracted the coronavirus.

Carmen and Mary both ended up at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in suburban Downers Grove, but because of the pandemic, family feared they would be placed in separate rooms.

"We came across some obstacles, we did," said daughter, Joyce Siciliano Andringa. "But most people followed their heart, followed their faith."

Nurse Renee Scheier made certain the Sicilianos could share a room, and because family members couldn't visit, she and others assumed the role.

"They had a huge impact on us," Scheier said. "They brought a lot of joy, positivity. They had a beautiful story."

But on Nov. 12, Carmen, at 98 years old, lost his battle against the coronavirus with his wife right at his side.

"My mom could reach out and touch my father, and she was actually holding his arm as he passed, so we know that they were together," Grazian said.

On Thursday, Mary was still recovering from the virus, and waiting to meet her newest great-grandchildren.

As for the couple's daughters, they have nothing but praise for those who cared for their parents.

"We say like cliché, heroes and angles, but they were," Siciliano Andringa said.

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