GULFPORT, Miss. - Sherry Nabors said her late husband, Jeff, wanted to get married knowing that he would soon die from COVID-19 just days after being hospitalized with the virus.
"We loved each other so, so much," Sherry, 53, told FOX Television Stations Monday. "And I think he just wanted me to be a part of his family."
The couple was married in Jeff’s hospital room at Memorial Hospital at Gulfport in Mississippi on Feb. 4.
Jeff, 62, died from COVID-19 complications on Feb. 7.
The couple, who had children from previous relationships, first met when they were neighbors in 2006 in Houston, Texas. Sherry said she was holding up her broken garage door so it wouldn’t hit her car. Her daughter searched for help and found Jeff, who came over to help.
The couple then started dating the following year, eventually moved to Gulfport, and were engaged in December of 2020.
In early January of 2021, Sherry tested positive for COVID-19, believing she contracted the virus from work. Jeff also tested positive a week later.
"We were very careful. We wore our masks. We had hand-sanitizer everywhere," she said.
The virus took a much heavier toll on Jeff, who also battled chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, which affects the respiratory system.
A few days into his stay at the hospital, Jeff told Sherry he wanted to marry her soon despite his bleak prognosis.
He died with Sherry by his side, holding his hand.
"I was sitting on his bed and I had my head down, crying," she said.
Sherry urged people to take the pandemic seriously and follow safety protocols despite many states lifting restrictions.
"There are other people out there that this can harm," she said. "It may not harm you, but it could harm somebody else."
Since the pandemic started over a year ago, more than 29.4 Americans have tested positive for COVID-19 and more than 535,000 people have died from the virus in the U.S. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 38 million Americans are now fully vaccinated, representing 11.5% of the total U.S. population.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.