A Connecticut father said he lived “the best life” in a heartbreaking letter to his family that he wrote weeks before dying from the coronavirus.
Jonathan Coelho — who was only 32 when he died from COVID-19 Wednesday — had penned the loving note to his wife, Katie Coelho, 33, and their two children Penelope, 10 months, and Braedyn, who is 2 and has cerebral palsy.
“I love you guys with all my heart and you’ve given me the best life I could have ever asked for,” Jonathan wrote. “I am so lucky it makes me so proud to be your husband and the father to Braedyn and Penny. Katie you are the most beautiful caring nurturing person I’ve ever met … you are truly one of a kind … make sure you live life with happiness and that same passion that made me fall in love with you. Seeing you be the best mom to the kids is the greatest thing I’ve ever experienced.”
The doting father continued by asking his wife of seven years to relay messages to his two children.
“Let Braedyn now [sic] he’s my best bud and I’m proud to be his father and for all the amazing things he’s done and continues to do,” he wrote. “Let Penelope know she’s a princess and can have whatever she wants in life,” he continued. “I’m so lucky.”
The dad concluded the letter by letting his wife know that it’s OK to move on.
“Don’t hold back and if you meet someone know that if they love you and the kids that I love that for you. Always be happy no matter what!”
Jonathan had been fighting for his life at a hospital in Danbury for 28 days, 20 of them on a ventilator, when he suddenly went into cardiac arrest.
His wife rushed to the hospital, but arrived too late.
“I was able to sit with Jonathan in the ICU after it happened and just sat, cried and told him how much the kids and I loved him,” Katie wrote in an update on a GoFundMe started for the family. “When Jonathan’s phone was returned to me, I turned it on and there was a note up written by Jonathan the day before he was intubated.”
Katie was shocked to find the writings that were drafted in his notes app on his phone.
“Even though he was fighting for his life for the past month, I know up until the last second he wanted to make sure the kids and I were OK,” she told Buzzfeed News. “He knew he had to say something to me because I haven’t been able to speak to him in so long.”
The adoring wife described her husband as a “hard worker,” a “kind soul” and “had a smile that made anyone feel loved, and a hug that made you feel secure” in her tribute on GoFundMe.
Jonathan, who was an essential worker for the state of Connecticut for over 10 years, was also an avid New England Patriots fan who loved to put his kids in matching jerseys and rock out to Underoath.
Before he became ill, the family was taking extra precautions to stay safe because of Braedyn’s condition which puts him at a higher risk of contracting the virus. The father always wore gloves, masks and washed his hands frequently throughout his day at work, Katie said. “He was so super vigilant because he was so afraid of what would happen to our son if he caught it.”
On March 24, Jonathan found out he had been in contact with someone who had the virus and tested positive, despite only experiencing minor symptoms like fatigue, migraine and no sense of smell, Buzzfeed News reported.
“Within 24 hours, he started coughing, and with the coughing fits, he wouldn’t be able to catch his breath in between,” she told the outlet. “The doctor told him to go to the hospital because he’d probably need nebulizer treatments.”
After he was put on a ventilator, doctors believed the dad would make a full recovery, but his symptoms took a turn for the worse.
“It’s unfair that Jonathan’s time with his family was cut so short,” his wife wrote in her post. “Jonathan only ever wanted to be there for his children and wife and this virus stole that away from him.”
She added that their grief is insurmountable and that they’ve “lost their rock and foundation and they are beyond heartbroken.”