(CNN) — Like so many people who have lost loved ones to COVID-19, Abby Adair Reinhard wasn’t able to be at the hospital with her dying father, Don Adair.
A nurse offered to put the hospital telephone next to Adair’s ear, and Adair Reinhard and her three siblings were able to talk to their father — for more than 30 hours — until he died, she said.
“It was a huge blessing,” Adair Reinhard said. “It allowed me to have some sort of closure. … I was able to say what I needed to say, knowing it was the end, and even though I couldn’t see him and I couldn’t hold his hand, having that connection over the phone was incredibly valuable.”
The siblings, joined by phone from Denmark to Texas and North Carolina to upstate New York, shared memories, sang songs to their dad, and expressed their love for him, Adair Reinhard said.
Adair, 76, “couldn’t really talk, you know, but we could hear him breathe. And so we just had time together,” Adair Reinhard said.
They would at times doze off, then one would say, “We love you, Dad, we’re here for you, Dad,” Reinhard said.
“I thanked my dad, for being there for me, for loving me,” Adair Reinhard said. “I apologized for what I needed to apologize for, I forgave him for what I needed to forgive him for, and just started sharing memories and songs,” including those her father had played guitar to around the family’s campfires.
“I wanted to bring him back to all the good times we had, and singing around the campfire and him playing his guitar, and so just started singing those Peter, Paul and Mary songs,” Adair Reinhard said.
“We could really hear him suffering,” Adair Reinhard said. “But just hearing him breathe, it was like our connection to him and how we knew he was still alive.”
Adair was a business lawyer who helped people start their dream businesses, Adair Reinhard said, a man who loved helping people and being active in the community.
The coronavirus-induced shutdown was stressing out Adair Reinhard, a small business owner, but her father’s death put everything in perspective, she said.
“It all just becomes crystal clear that it’s about family and it’s about love,” she said.