‘Tell the kids I love them, and I love you too’: Woman who says she felt ‘cheated’ after her husband died alone at hospital from COVID-19 discovers an unsent text on his phone
- Darrin Cook, 57, died on August 31, from coronavirus-related complications
- Hospital visitor rules meant that his wife, Michelle Cook, wasn’t allowed to visit
- The couple, married 31 years, communicated through phone and text messages
- After he died, Michelle said she found a touching text message on his phone that he hadn’t been able to send
- Darrin was known for his work with nonprofit organizations and fundraising
Darrin Cook, 57, of Bennington, Nebraska, died on August 31, from coronavirus-related complications.
Darrin – known for his extensive fundraising and non-profit volunteer work – had spent nine days at home, suffering high fever and other symptoms, before his wife of 31 years, Michelle Cook, took him to the emergency room.
Darrin was then transferred to another hospital, where he was given oxygen and then put on a ventilator.
Michelle Cook (left) said she found a touching text message on husband Darrin Cook’s (right) cell phone, which he hadn’t been able to send before he died from coronavirus in August
Michelle told the Omaha World-Herald that hospital visitor restrictions stopped her from being able to see Darrin after he was transferred, leaving them to talk via phone and, later, by text messages.
‘I felt so cheated I didn’t get to be with him,’ Michelle told the newspaper. ‘That is probably the worst thing ever, and I know he felt it, too.’
After Darrin passed away, Michelle said that she found a text message on his cell phone that he hadn’t been able to sent her before he died.
It read: ‘Tell the kids I love them, and I love you, too.’
According to Michelle, the unsent text message indicated that his family – which includes four children and three grandkids – occupied his mind during his last moments.
Michelle (left) wasn’t allowed to visit Darrin (right) in the hospital due to strict visitor restrictions, which meant they could only communicate via phone and text messages
Darrin (right) was known for the volunteer work he did with nonprofit organizations, including fundraising and dressing up as Santa during the annual Special Olympics bowling event
Michelle said that she didn’t know how Darrin caught coronavirus or why it affected him so much, as he didn’t have any underlying health conditions and wasn’t on any medications, either.
Among the volunteer work Darrin carried out was raising upwards of $50,000 to fight diabetes and dressing up as Santa Claus during the Special Olympics’ Christmas bowling event every year.
Michelle said his passion was working with the nonprofit I-80 Cosmopolitan Club, which focused on fighting diabetes, especially juvenile diabetes. She said he would often tell her that when it came to diabetic children, ‘If I could give them some kind of normal life, I’d trade places with them in a heartbeat.’
As Santa at the Special Olympics bowling outing, Michelle said the kids couldn’t wait to hug him and have their picture taking with him – and that they always begged him to bowl with them, hoping he’d get a strike.
Another long-time activity of Darrin’s was assisting baseball teams during the College World Series.
‘I’m trying to figure out how to carry on his legacy,’ Michelle told the newspaper, ‘but those are big shoes to fill.’
She added that Darrin had ‘done so much for the community’ and noted that he had ‘such a big heart. He gave so much of his time out of work.’
Darrin is survived by Michelle, their children, Tyler, Garrett and Nicole, and three grandchildren.