After Lois and PJ Connor enjoyed more than 50 years together in marriage, the Ohio couple died hours apart while holding hands. The loss is tragic but their enduring love story was beautiful from beginning to end.
It’s never easy to lose a parent. And losing both at the same time is especially hard.
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But the loved ones of Lois and PJ Connor, a couple who died just hours apart from COVID-19, are wrestling with the feeling that the deaths came too soon, too.
“They were not done living their life,” one of their children explained.
Lois and PJ Connor married in 1968. The couple raised 3 children — Patrick Connor, Mary Mazik, and Ann Lanier — and later welcomed 10 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild.
Their 52 years of marriage “was a beautiful love story” according to the family. And even with the tragic ending brought on by coronavirus, their incredible devotion to one another cut through the darkness.
Lois and PJ were together in life and together in death. The couple died just hours apart. And God is already ministering to the hearts of the loved ones they left behind.
Together In Everything, Even Death
After being admitted to the hospital with COVID-19, the two were initially placed in separate rooms. But their beautiful bond endured the separation. They passed love notes to each other from across the hall.
But then Lois started getting worse. And it wasn’t long before PJ’s condition went downhill, too.
“My dad was struggling with COVID and a broken heart,” daughter Mary Mazik said.
For the couple’s children, it was so hard to see their parents suffering so much, both physically and emotionally.
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"The piece that people really don't understand is that the loneliness, that isolation, plays just a big of a part as the clinician piece,” Ann Lanier, the couple’s other daughter, said.
But after 52 years of marriage, Lois and PJ had plenty of faith — both in God and in each other. And their trust in the Lord brought comfort as the couple died together just hours apart.
"My mom was at peace,” Mary said. “My mom kept saying I am not afraid. She kept saying ‘ I am going to go see Jesus.' She was more concerned about my dad."
A Blacklick couple dies in the hospital from #coronavirus
3 hours apart from each other. Their son @pconnor390 is Newark's Fire Chief who has been on the frontlines of the pandemic. The family shares their story tonight at 5:30 on @wsyx6 pic.twitter.com/DNU5nul6eZ
- Lu Ann Stoia (@stoiawsyx6) February 2, 2021
Couple Died Hours Apart
As both Lois’ and PJ’s health got worse, the hospital brought them back together in the same room.
It was so hard for their kids to say goodbye. But they saw how much their parents were suffering here on earth. And their parents had raised them to know God would take care of it all.
Mary recalls breaking down and telling her mom she didn’t want to lose her. And Lois had the best response.
“Oh Annie, I know,” the dying woman told her daughter, “but God is going to get you through this.”
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The couple died hours apart, in the same room together, holding hands. And while losing both parents at the same time is incredibly hard, the family knows it needed to happen this way.
"While they were in the hospital, I know my dad would look at my mother and I could see in his eyes that the thought of living without her was devastating to him," son Patrick Connor said. "It broke all of our hearts to see that, but at the end of the day, they both had a strong faith in God. They did everything together. They also died together and are in heaven together.”
Counting The Blessings After Couple Died Hours Apart
In their time of mourning, the family is leaning on the strong faith modeled by their parents.
"That sharing of faith has truly gotten us through,” Mary said. “To see the joy and to have so much gratitude in the midst of a devastating loss for our family."
That gratitude extends to the incredible care Lois and PJ Connor received from the hospital.
"They treated us with respect and kindness,” Mary said of the hospital staff. "Riverside workers did not just administer medicine but loved them. Laughed with them. Cried with them. . . It has changed our grief experience.”
Lois and PJ’s son, Patrick, agreed with his sister’s sentiments about the hospital staff, noting their compassion and understanding for the couple who died hours apart. He also recognized how hard their job is, especially during COVID-19.
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“How difficult that must be to go from one room to the next and see the same thing, when just our story alone was heartbreaking," Patrick said. “My heart goes out to those health care workers that helped us and I can't thank them enough. We move on to the next thing and they stay, and they are still treating patients today.”
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Featured Image: Twitter/Lu Ann Stoia WSYX 6