Coronavirus: Heartbroken brothers reflect as parents die 9 days apart at Toronto nursing home

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When brothers Rod and Greg McVeigh began writing an obituary for their 77-year-old mother Joan McVeigh, they never imagined they would be including their father Joseph in the same death announcement.

Nine days after their mother died from complications associated with COVID-19 at Seven Oaks Long-Term Care home on April 7, their 77-year-old dad — a retired Toronto police detective — died suddenly.

“‘This shouldn’t have happened to your mother. It isn’t right,’” Greg recalled his devastated father saying after he watched Joan’s virtual funeral on April 8 from his room in the Scarborough long-term-care home where the couple had lived in adjoining rooms connected with a communal bathroom.

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“He was crying and said, ‘I miss your mother. I miss her so much. I need to find a way to go on.’”


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Greg said he and his brother were hopeful their father had not caught the virus, but they were not sure. They said they emailed staff at the facility to ask to have their father tested and the results came back negative.

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Then he suddenly passed away from a heart attack.

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