Couple of 76 years spends final moments together while fighting COVID-19


DOLTON, Ill. (WGN) — Carmen and Mary Siciliano celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary last year. Their daughters said the suburban Illinois couple hadn’t spent a day apart from each other in all of those years until COVID-19 struck.

Their hospital pulled some strings to let the two reunite, at least for a little.

Carmen Siciliano was a proud World War II Army veteran. He married his wife, Mary, while on a two-week leave during the war. Their daughters, Joyce and Gail, said they’ve been together ever since.

My mom and dad had not been separated in their 76 years of marriage since World War II,” Gail Grazian said.

Carmen, 98, and Mary, 93, stayed together throughout the pandemic in their assisted living facility.

“My mom, they were watching Cubs games, they were listening to their music, they’d say “Oh, we’re just talking about old times,” Joyce Siciliano Andringa said.

But last month, Mary tested positive for COVID-19 and went to Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove. Two days later, Carmen also got sick.

“We found out that he had also tested positive for COVID, so my sister and I … at that point we were on a mission to get him and my mother together at Good Samaritan Hospital,” Grazian said.

After some persistence by the daughters, the doctors agreed to let the couple stay together.

“The room was set up perfectly to accommodate their needs, and we could tell how important this was to the entire Siciliano family, and we determined that we would be able to safely put them both in the same room. So that’s what we did,” said Renee Sheier of Good Samaritan Hospital’s respiration isolation units.

The proud Army veteran died the morning after Veterans Day. Just like the past 76 years, Carmen spent his final moments with his wife by his side.

“The night before, the nurses and doctors were kind enough to put my mother and father’s beds next to one another, so my mother … she had her hand on my father’s arm when he passed,” Grazian said.

Mary was discharged from the hospital the next day.

“They have been a shining light in this difficult time. They brought smiles to anybody who had encounters with Mr. or Mrs. Siciliano, same with Joyce and Gail, they brought a lot of joy to us at Good Samaritan,” Sheier said.

And even though the Sicilianos lost Carmen, they’re grateful for the doctors and nurses and that their parents got to be together until the end.

The family wanted to share their story to remember Carmen since they won’t be able to do a celebration of life until after the pandemic is over.

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