Couple dies from coronavirus, holds hands in final moments

Updated: Apr. 13, 2020 at 8:24 PM CDT
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SULPHUR, La. (KPLC) - Losing a parent is hard enough as it is, but to lose both parents to a global pandemic is something one local family could have never imagined.

“It all started with just a cough, but it quickly escalated," Ashley Briscoe said.

Briscoe said her mother, father and sister were all hospitalized due to coronavirus.

“Saturday was when my mom got admitted, that Monday or Tuesday day was when my sister was admitted and that same nighttime my dad got admitted,” Briscoe said.

Luckily — her sister wasn’t hospitalized for long and is now on the mend. Unfortunately, the same wasn’t true for their parents Pastor Steven and Barbara Randolph — known lovingly by the community as Aunt and Uncle Steve.

“The ventilator at this point was doing 100% of the work," Briscoe said.

She said their pre-existing conditions made her parents’ fight against COVID-19 a hard one.

“My mom suffered from diabetes and low blood pressure and my dad had maybe three strokes all together. He also had a heart attack and he also had high blood pressure," Briscoe said.

She said nothing could have prepared her to lose them.

“My mom and dad always tried to prepare us for you know, if something like this was to happen. But you can never actually prepare yourself to lose a parent, much less two parents in the same day," Briscoe said.

She wished her and her siblings could have been there physically — but couldn’t due to the circumstances.

“We weren’t allowed to actually be there physically with them. The closest thing was that my brother and I could go to the parking lot of the hospital and said a prayer with family and before they were taken off the ventilator we were able to FaceTime with them," Briscoe said.

What brought them comfort was knowing their parents were together in the end.

“They put them bed by bed, side by side. and they let them hold hands. They grabbed each other’s hands. My mom actually passed first and then my dad passed shortly after, holding her hand," Briscoe said. "My mom always said she couldn’t imagine life without my dad and my dad always said he couldn’t imagine life without my mom. To me, that was God letting me know that he has them together so they don’t have to imagine life without each other.”

Briscoe said if anyone takes a lesson from their story it’s this: stay home.

“There’s no need for you to go to the store to buy a new TV right now. There’s no need for you to go to the store because you saw a shirt that you liked. You can get another shirt, you can get another TV, but you can’t get another life. Social distance as much as possible," Briscoe said.

Steven and Barbara leave behind four children and seven grandchildren.

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