CHICAGO — A husband and wife died within hours of each other Monday and both of their deaths are believed to be related to the coronavirus.
Jennie Alvarado said her mother Juanita Melecio died Monday night from COVID-19 related illness.
“She dedicated her life to the Lord,” Alvarado said.
Juanita Melecio was 77.
Alvarado was able to speak to both of her parents over the phone shortly before they passed away.
“I just thanked my mom for being such a wonderful mom. She was my best friend, my mentor, my support,” she said. “I started singing for her.”
About four hours later, the love her life, her husband of more than 50 years, Luis Melecio Sr. died. His family said he also had a COVID related illness. He was 82.
“Then I told my dad, ‘Mom is waiting on you…it’s ok to go. You’ve been an awesome dad,'” Alvarado said.
They were both living in a nursing home on Chicago’s North Side when they became ill and were transferred to UIC Hospital.
The couple grew up in Puerto Rico then came to Chicago and raised a family in Humboldt Park.
Alvarado along with Elliot Melecio and another brother are now making funeral plans.
And while their parents had a love story for the ages, their children said they are heartbroken for many reasons. They did not have a chance to physically embrace their parents at the time of their deaths.
“To have something that prevents you from personally hugging them, to prevent you from giving them a kiss … it’s hard,” Elliot Melecio said.
“He would say, ‘If (she) dies, I’m going with her. I’m not going to live without her,’” Alvarado said. “And that’s exactly what happened.”
Funeral arrangements are still pending.
Early in the pandemic, Jennie Alvarado along Elliot Melecio lost a great aunt as well.