The couple knew they were meant to be together in life and in death; that is exactly what they did.
When Juan and Blanca Estela Rodriguez, from San Diego, met in the seventh grade, little did they know just how intertwined their lives and souls would become. For them, the day they took their vows, they meant every word of it including "till death do us part". It was a promise they held onto until their last labored breath. They contracted Coronavirus and passed away just hours apart on February 8 of this year. "I really do think my mom and dad had one soul. It wasn't two souls -- it was one," said their son, Juan Manuel Rodriguez Jr.
The couple had locked eyes with each other while in their teens and instantly connected, according to CNN. As Juan flirted with Blanca, she fell head over heels for his gorgeous green eyes. "When she would turn around and look at him, he would wink at her. She remembered that he had these green eyes," recalled Anna Cabral, one of their four children. "I guess around that time he started telling her and his friends that he was going to marry her one day."
High school sweethearts die of Covid-19 hours apart after one last family video callhttps://t.co/OLhR4Dq0PM— Matthew Aldrich (@mattmanaz) February 17, 2021
While the two had their moments during high school, Blanca insisted that she wasn't into Juan and soon, they broke up. However, her feelings came roaring to clarity when she saw him with a date during their senior year. "She went up to him and told them, 'Oh, you're going to be my boyfriend now,' and my dad said, 'OK.' They were together ever since," said one of their daughters, Blanca Velazquez. Then in 1972, the lovebirds eloped and the love they had continued to remain strong for almost 50 years. "When she would walk in, his face would light up like it was the first time, like she was the most beautiful thing in a world," their daughter, Cynthia Rodriguez, revealed. "His whole face with this glow. It was so weird."
Blanca was more than just a mom and beloved wife though. She was a social worker for San Diego County and then an investigator with the US Department of Transportation. "She went from being my mom, who was always home with us to my mom, who was doing inspections on these massive companies and dealing with all these people," said Anna. As for Juan, he was one of the "hardest workers" who worked as a residential supervisor for workers and teens residing in the dorms at the San Diego Job Corps.
Juan and Blanca Rodriguez were middle school sweethearts who decided to share their lives together, until they died from COVID-19 just hours apart. https://t.co/ygarvOFzYe— KTXS News (@KTXS_News) February 12, 2021
"My parents made sure that we were a very united family. I feel so much better just being around my siblings and talking to them. It's like they each have a piece of my parents. You put us all together and it's almost whole but it's not," admitted Anna. So the news of them having the virus was shocking especially since Juan and Blanca adhered to all the precautionary measures. In fact, they had been ready to go for their COVID vaccine appointment at the time.
But on January 18, the results showed that they were positive. Given Juan's comorbidities which included kidney issues, diabetes, congestive heart failure, and a bad bone break that did not heal properly, he was bed-bound quickly. While Blanca was healthier than her husband, she too suffered diabetes and arthritis which, combined with the virus, forced her into the same position as her husband. They were hospitalized on January 26 as their health rapidly deteriorated. But the family was still their number one priority.
The day before the couple passed, Blanca got on a video call with her family, including her husband who was ventilated and sedated. Though she found it hard to breathe and had to wear an oxygen mask, she told "my dad that he was the love of her life and that she loved him," recalled Blanca Velazquez. "She told us all that she loved us." Finally, as the call ended, she told her husband that she would see him later. After a few hours, her health crashed badly and she needed to be intubated. Though her four kids rushed to the hospital to comfort her, she was gone at 12:34 am on February 8.
Together in life and beyond..— ➿ (@rightupurs) February 12, 2021
Blanca & Juan Rodriguez https://t.co/2vxLwlmbwt
Even though Juan was admitted into another hospital, he might have known the instant his soulmate was gone. Not long after, his own condition failed rapidly and he passed away on the same day at 4:18 am. Blanca Velazquez's post in the San Diego Tribune read, "The nurse stopped us outside his room and said Dad began to crash around 12:30 am. She said she read Mom’s chart and noticed the time of her passing — 12:34 am. She found it weird. We didn’t. Mom couldn’t let Dad go alone, and she knew she wasn’t leaving us alone. We have each other. We will miss you forever, Mom and Dad. Until we meet again."
"I told my siblings I'm 100 percent sure my dad wasn't alone when he passed because my mom was there with him," said the daughter, according to CNN. "For him, that was everything. It was a little bit of a comfort for us that they were together. Our parents' love was legendary and extraordinary in life, but it was also extraordinary in death," she added. "They were lovebirds. They were always together, cuddling, holding hands."
Cover image source: GoFundMe | Blanca & Juan Rodriguez