By Lisa Gresci

MIDDLETON (CBS) – The coronavirus is taking the lives of thousands of people across the country. One husband is now telling the story of the wife he lost to remind people these are human lives, not just numbers.

“She was just very happy. Outgoing she touched everybody’s life the same.” Ira Krakow said of his wife Sandy.

It wasn’t very often you’d see Sandy Krakow without a smile on her face.

It was one of the reasons Ira fell in love with her almost immediately.

Ultimately asking her to marry him as the two traveled Europe.

”We got to Paris and I said, ‘We know we are going to get married, let’s call Sandy’s parents,’” he recalled.

Ira and Sandy Krakow. (Photo credit: Ira Krakow)

Ira, fond of the memory, laughed thinking about Sandy’s father’s reaction. Calling him an “old school kind of guy.” Ira said he was about to hop on the next flight “and basically rescue his daughter from my evil clutches or whatever and he didn’t do that. They talked to my parents and they said Ira is a nice Jewish boy and it’s going to be alright.”

Nearly 50 years of marriage, two children and two grandchildren later, Sandy, a retired nurse who spent years caring for others, turned to Ira with a concerning truth about the coronavirus.

“She actually told me that she might be one of those people that may be in some jeopardy,” he said.

Sandy Krakow. (Photo credit: Ira Krakow)

An asthma attack woke Sandy up in the middle of the night last month.

“She wasn’t able to control it,” Ira explained. She told Ira to call 911. He did. Not knowing those would be some of her last words to him.

Sandy had stopped breathing by the time she got to the emergency room. She was stabilized enough to be put on a ventilator.

She eventually tested positive for coronavirus. Sandy passed away a week later at the age of 69.

Social distancing guidelines forced the family to have her funeral via a Zoom call.

”We actually exceeded the maximum number of people who could be connected,” Ira said.

Friends and family from all over the world were able to participate, sharing memories of Sandy.

Sandra and Ira Krakow. (Photo credit: Ira Krakow)

In her eulogy, Ira said Sandy always knew when the party was over. He doesn’t believe this was any different and Sandy knew it was her time to say goodbye.

“I’m sure that’s what she wanted to be remembered for her full life that she actually lead. Everybody deserves that it’s not just Sandy, you’re a person,” he said.

Ira hopes others won’t let the coronavirus take over what should still be a heartfelt goodbye, highlighting the lives, not just the numbers.

Lisa Gresci

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