Myra Seay knew exactly how to describe the recent deaths of her parents, Michael and Kathleen Seay: as the last, culminating moment of their long happily ever after.
“It’s a wonderful, 58-year love story,” Seay said.
“Mickey” and “Kathy” died together on Friday, Jan. 22, from complications due to COVID-19 at Emory University Hospital. The couple died, Seay said, hand in hand.
“Although they aren’t really supposed to, Emory agreed to put them in a room together,” Seay said. “She wanted them to go together. We put his hand in hers and then we took them both off the ventilators. She lived maybe another minute. He died about four hours later.”
Mickey and Kathy met in 1962 when Kathy met Mickey on a blind date where she was meant to meet someone else. Instead, she stuck with Mickey and the couple were wed a year later, eventually having four daughters, 11 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Early in January, however, Mickey grew ill and after a test at the hospital was informed he’d contracted COVID-19.
A few days later, he was getting a chest X-ray, which revealed he’d also contracted pneumonia, while Kathy was demonstrating just typical coronavirus symptoms.
But at 80 and 78, respectively, Mickey and Kathy weren’t in a condition to deal with the cascade of problems. Mickey, in particular, had COPD from previous work conditions, which made further breathing hazards a major threat.
“His body just couldn’t tolerate it,” Seay said. “And it was hard on her, because she knew things were going hard for him. She became weaker and weaker.”
Mickey was checked into Emory, where he was hooked up to a ventilator as his breathing grew more and more labored. Kathy waited at home fretfully, worried about her husband, until she fell unconscious one day. Doctors told the family soon after she had suffered a stroke. The end was near.
That was when Myra and her sisters approached Emory about getting their mother into their father’s hospital room.
“They said they didn’t have any beds open,” Myra said. “But they were able to work something out for us.”
Mickey was weak and Myra in a coma, unlikely to wake again. But the two were laid side by side in their room at Emory and their hands locked together. A few hours later, they were both gone, leaving together to be together in a better place.
Myra said it reminded her of her favorite movie, which her parents had seen and enjoyed with her.
“It was like a scene from ‘The Notebook,’” Myra said. “In the end, they did go together.”
The pair will be buried in the historic graveyard alongside their home, which is also registered as a historic landmark in Monroe. They will, of course, be buried side by side, together in death as they were for so long in life, right to the very end.