‘He broke a lot of hearts when he passed away’: Family remembers loved one lost to COVID-19

12 Remembers

CUMBERLAND, R.I. (WPRI) — Lenny Marsland and his wife Colleen met when they were just teenagers, and now she is grappling with the fact that COVID-19 took him away from her.

“‘You want to go for a ride?'” she recalled him asking. “I said OK, just to get him off my back, and he kissed me, oh my God!'”

Colleen said her husband of 62 years was caring, funny, loving, and a huge fan of the Yankees.

The 82-year-old Lenny was already sick with pneumonia back in March when he tested positive for the virus. The family said they didn’t know it was COVID-19 at first.

His son, David Marsland, said his father went to the hospital because he was having difficulty breathing. He died two days later.

“Just an overall nice guy. Everybody that came in contact with him liked him,” David said. “He broke a lot of hearts when he passed away.”

The Cumberland family said the most difficult part was not being able to say goodbye when Lenny’s condition worsened.

“He was in the hospital when he passed away, so we couldn’t see him, couldn’t have a funeral,” David added.

Doctors originally thought it was pneumonia, so Lenny stayed home to get better, according to David. Weeks later, the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in the area and he ended up transmitting the virus to Colleen.

“She was very sick, on oxygen,” said Susan Marsland, Lenny’s daughter-in-law. “We were nervous after losing Lenny.”

Now, almost four months since they lost their loved one, the Marsland family says they want to send an important message.

“I’m always hearing it’s a hoax, I don’t need to wear a mask,” Susan said. “It’s like, ‘what’s wrong with people out there?'”

David said his father was loved by many, so there needs to be a higher capacity limit for his funeral. He hopes to be able to hold it within the next few months.

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