Mississippi man marries sweetheart from hospital bed days before dying from coronavirus

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Sunday, March 14, 2021

GULFPORT, Miss. -- A Mississippi man was able to marry his sweetheart of 17 years just days before dying from COVID-19-related complications.

Jeff and Sherry got engaged in December and had talked about wedding dates before the coronavirus took over their lives.

But as WLOX reports, the couple traded a small chapel wedding for a ceremony in a Memorial Hospital room in Gulfport.

It wasn't what we had in mind," said Sherry Nabors. "It was beautiful. It was beautiful and it was so touching and it was so perfect."

The hospital chaplain, Martin Gilliland knew the couple was engaged and suggested that a bedside wedding would be possible.

The next day, nurses, respiratory therapists, doctors and others from day and night shift gathered at 7 a.m. for the ceremony.

"There wasn't a dry eye in the room when we finished," said Gilliland.

One of the nurses had fashioned a wedding band for Jeff out of a medical bandage.

Their children and grandchildren watched the ceremony on Facebook, struggling to hear the words over the hiss of Jeff's life-sustaining oxygen.

"Martin did some of the talking for Jeff but when it was time for Jeff to say 'I will' - he couldn't say it - but he sure shook that head," said Sherry. "He was very there and it was amazing."

Their time as husband and wife lasted less than four days.

Jeff had stage 4 COPD and even though he had recovered from COVID, his lungs had seen too much damage.

"I was sitting on his bed and I had my head down, crying and I heard him say my name, he said it twice," said Sherry. "And I popped my head up and I looked at him, and he was looking at me and I said 'I'm right here, baby, I'm right here.' I said 'I'm not going anywhere.' And he closed his eyes. He shook his head and closed his eyes. And he didn't open his eyes again."

The couple had shared a love for Ireland and planned to take a second trip there, as well as Niagra Falls.

"When I get his ashes, I'm going to take those trips. Our journey is over on Earth, but it's not over. We're not over," said Sherry.