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'Forget COVID': Wife at her husband's side for his last moments

Mystic — Harold Wolfe died Monday, a week after his wife, Sherry, met him at the ambulance outside a Mystic nursing home to say what she thought would be their final goodbye.

The chronicle of love and death in the age of COVID-19 captured the attention of readers, who wrote to The Day to describe it as a moving story of the times.

Harold, 95, entered hospice on Jan. 10 after a long illness Sherry described as "old age." He was frail and had fewer and fewer moments of lucidity as time wore on. He'd contracted the coronavirus amid multiple hospitalizations related to falls and was transported to the nursing home directly from Westerly Hospital.

The couple's son and daughter-in-law, Scott and Barbara Wolfe of Waterford, said it wasn't long before Sherry reconsidered the premature parting next to the ambulance. Just over a day later, fears about the pandemic gave way to the need to be with her husband at the end.

"She just went with her gut and said, 'Forget COVID, I'm going,'" Barbara said.

Sherry was with Harold when he died at 6:30 Monday evening, according to Scott. "He literally died in her arms," he said.

They married in 1949 after meeting four years before at a hotel in the Catskills owned by Harold's family. They raised two sons while Harold's work as a press secretary took the family from Washington, D.C., to Maryland to New York.

The couple retired to Sarasota, Fla., where Sherry said the importance of always talking openly about difficulties remained at the heart of their enduring marriage. They went on tours of various spots in Europe and hosted friends at their home.

Their friends all agreed it was a dull party if Harold wasn't there, Sherry recalled. "He always had a way of making it fun," she said.

Scott described his mother's emotions as mixed right now. She's relieved Harold is no longer in pain, even as she mourns the loss of the man she fell in love with when she was 15 years old.

"But I told her months ago: You're going to feel lonely," he said, "but you're never going to be alone."

In Israel, just days before Harold died, his 50th great-grandchild was born.

It's a boy.

Listen to the podcast about how this story came about:


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