Connecticut resident Jonathan Coelho was a healthy 32-year-old. In late March, he went to the hospital only to never make it out.
As his body succumbed to the novel coronavirus, he left a message behind for his family.
“He would start coughing, but, when he was coughing, he couldn’t breathe in between it,” says his wife, Katie Coelho.
“It went from ‘I don’t feel really good’, to ‘Okay, this is kind of scary,’ to my husband’s life,” she said. “He was fighting for his life within four or five days.”
The father of two was a probation officer, which was considered an essential worker. He took precautions because he feared getting sick and passing it on to his kids: 10-month-old Penelope and 2-year-old Braedyn, who has cerebral palsy and is at high risk should he contract COVID-19.
Jonathan ended up having contact at work with someone who tested positive for the virus. “My kids are going to grow up without a dad because of this,” his wife said.
She said he was hospitalized for nearly a month, at times, very sick.
She said that as recently as Tuesday, he was breathing better with hopes he would soon come home. That night, their son sent him a video.
“He had made a video that said ‘Dad is my best friend,’ so they were showing it to my husband and my husband went into cardiac arrest, and he coded and they couldn’t revive him.”
That morning, Katie opened Jonathan’s phone to save some pictures.
That’s when she found a note he wrote on his message app to her and the kids right before he was put on the ventilator for the first time. In it, he tells his wife and kids he loves them and that they gave him the best life he could have ever asked for.
“I’m going to be able to show them, look at how much your dad loved us and look how much everyone else saw your dad loved you,” says Katie. “And, your dad, your dad didn’t want this to happen. He wanted to be here, so it’ll be good that I have at least that little extra piece to share with them.”
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help The Coelho family.