Jon Coelho, 32, spent the past month in a hospital in Danbury, Connecticut, where doctors helped him fight the coronavirus. Sadly, he has become one of the 49,963 Americans who lost against it, dying of cardiac arrest brought on by the disease.

On Wednesday, his wife Katie, 33, went to the hospital and gathered Jon’s belongings. In the process, she opened his phone and tried to save as many pictures of him and their two children as she could. However, what she found on the device completely stunned her. Jon had left her and the kids a goodbye letter.

Image credits: Katie Coelho

Image credits: Journey for Braedyn

Image credits: Katie Coelho

Image credits: Katie Coelho

Jon and Katie met as students at Western Connecticut State University. They started out as close friends, but eventually became boyfriend and girlfriend, and tied the knot in 2013. They have two children: Braedyn, 2 and a half, and Penelope, 10 months.

Katie and Jon had worked really hard to build their family. Katie told BuzzFeed News they had two miscarriages and went through IVF. Braedyn was born with severe neurological problems and the parents were told he had just six weeks to live.

As fate would have it, he survived. As Katie cared for him full-time, and Jon provided for the family working at a nearby courthouse.

Image credits: Katie Coelho

Jon’s friend Jacob Wycoff told Bored Panda that he was an excellent man. “Jon was a very loving husband, father, and friend,” Wycoff said. “He was the sole provider for his family so that his wife could stay home with the kids. When it was his turn to spend time with them, boy did he love that.”

Wycoff went to college with Jon and Katie, and he and Jon belonged to the same fraternity. They remained close friends over the years, attending each other’s weddings as well as having children around the same time.

“Jon was never afraid to tell his friends that he loved them. He had a very kind heart,” Wycoff added.

Image credits: Katie Coelho

Because Braedyn is considered high risk for the coronavirus, the entire family had been taking quarantining very seriously. Katie and the kids stayed home, but Jon, an essential worker, still had to go to work.

“My husband wore gloves, masks, he washed his hands,” Katie explained. “He was so super vigilant because he was so afraid of what would happen to our son if he caught it.”

On March 24, however, Jon found out he’d been in contact with someone who’d tested positive for COVID-19. Even though Jon didn’t feel too bad — just fatigue, a migraine, and no sense of smell — he got tested, and the results came back positive, making the man quarantine himself in a separate part of the house.

Wycoff said Jon previously had cancer when he was 8 and 16, but according to the doctor, that should not have caused any complications with COVID-19. “He was otherwise a healthy 32yr old.”

“Within 24 hours, he started coughing, and with the coughing fits, he wouldn’t be able to catch his breath in between,” Katie said. “The doctor told him to go to the hospital because he’d probably need nebulizer treatments.”

Image credits: Katie Coelho

The first week, the doctors tried treating him with medications, but Jon was still struggling and had to be intubated.

“I don’t know why I put my phone on vibrate that night, but I did,” Katie said. “And I slept through a 4 a.m. phone call from him that said his breathing got a little weird in the night, so they said they’re gonna have to let his body rest so he could come home to me and the kids, and that he loved us.”

Image credits: Katie Coelho

After Jon was put on the ventilator, the doctors still expected him to make a full recovery. But his condition soon became worse.

“They tried to wake him up on day seven, and he was breathing way, way, way too hard,” Katie said. “They thought he was having a panic attack, so they FaceTimed me, and he just said, ‘I love you and I’m sorry’, and then they had to re-intubate him.”

After that, Jon’s kidneys started failing, and he ran a high fever for days. The man had to be sedated because he would wake up delirious, panicked, and would try to get rid of his ventilator tubes.

“He especially became agitated after talking to us, because he’d try to talk over the ventilator, and it would cause too much stress and his breathing would get out of whack.”

As the weeks went by, Jon did show signs of improvement. Doctors started the gradual process of weaning him off the sedatives and began testing to see how well he would manage off the ventilator.

“They trialed him all day [Tuesday], and he did a really good job,” Katie recalled. [He would get nervous, but the nurses were able to talk him down, and he was responsive.]

Katie spoke to a doctor that night around 9 p.m. and the conversation made her hopeful.

“The doctor I’d spoken to said, ‘We’re going to be able to wake your husband up in two days,” she said. “And they started talking to me about recovery.”

But after a few hours, Jon went into cardiac arrest and died.

Like Wycoff pointed out, the US is beginning to have discussions on ‘reopening the economy’. However, Jon’s story proves that as long as the virus is still around, anyone can be affected and no age group is immune to its devastating impact.

A GoFundMe was started to support the family

Image credits: Katie Coelho

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