Widow of COVID-19 victim remembers her husband of 40 years

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A Sioux Falls woman is devastated after losing her husband of 40 years to COVID-19.

Paul Van Vooren was only 57 years old.

He had numerous underlying health conditions, but if you knew Paul you knew even that couldn’t slow him down.

However, in early May everything changed.

Paul Van Vooren had a dynamite personality according to his wife Karen.

But this spring, the COVID-19 pandemic dropped a bomb on both of them.

“May 4th everything just spun, it just turned on a dime,” Karen Van Vooren said.

Paul, who had numerous health complications most of his life, wasn’t feeling well, so was taken to the hospital and was later admitted into the ICU and eventually had to be put on a ventilator.

Karen wasn’t allowed to be with him.

“His last text to me, as he was laying in the hospital in the ER was, I have COVID get Elija tested please I’m so sorry,” Karen said.

Karen also tested positive for COVID-19, and so did their 11-year-old grandson Elija, who lives with them.

But Karen’s pain was just beginning.

“On day 21 we had to take him off and they allowed me finally to go be with him,” Karen said. “He knew I was there when I walked in his eyes got real wide and it was like he was asking me where have I been. When he had the vent in and I came in the room he was saying something and of course I couldn’t tell, because the vent was blocking his tongue, I thought he was saying ‘I love you’, but he was saying ‘let me go.”

Paul died on June 12th. For Karen life would never be the same.

“I wasn’t planning this summer on picking out a casket, a cemetery plot, tombstone and a suit for him to wear for the last time, those weren’t my summer plans,” Karen said. “I love him so much, miss him so much I have so many things, in the evening when I’m sitting there alone I still look over at his chair or I’ll go to tell him something then realize he’s not there anymore that’s hard.”

Karen and Paul were in the process of adopting their 11-year-old grandson Elija when Paul passed away.

His adoption will be final in September.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Continuing The Conversation
See Full Weather Forecast

Trending Stories

Don't Miss!

More Don't Miss