A Dallas family is consoling each other via screen rather than with hugs after their patriarch, 84-year-old Cecil “Mac” Hargrove, died from coronavirus early Friday morning.
The retired real estate broker tested positive for COVID-19 just hours before in a Pennsylvania emergency room.
Though from Dallas, he and his wife had been in self-quarantine there at their son’s home after returning from a bucket list trip to Spain with him, his wife and children.
Back in Dallas, his granddaughter Hannah Hargrove got the call that he’d been hospitalized Thursday.
“I got a call back 30 minutes after that saying it is COVID. Grandaddy’s going to die tonight or tomorrow. So it was very, very quick. I mean I spoke with my grandfather on Saturday and he was fine. He was fine. There was nothing wrong with him,” said Hannah Hargrove.
Hargrove said her grandfather was forced to enter the hospital alone, leaving her uncle to make important decisions about end of life care via phone from the parking lot. It also meant none of his children or 11 grandkids would get to say goodbye in person.
“My uncle managed to allow us all to Facetime my grandfather to say goodbye. I always assumed when my granddad died, we’d all be around him. We’d all be circling him holding his hands. I’m so grateful for the FaceTime phone call. I got to say goodbye, and I got to tell him he was my best friend, which is kind of dorky that my 84-year-old grandfather was one of my best friends, but he was and I got to tell him that,” Hargrove said.
She said her grandfather was at a higher risk for the virus both from his age and battle with COPD. She said it wasn't necessarily a shock it was his time to go, but she's still trying to stomach that it was nurses rather than loved ones who held his hand in the end.
“I’m glad he didn’t die alone, but I wish he’d been able to be with us,” Hargrove said.
Though her grandfather had always planned to be buried, she said the family made the difficult decision to cremate him with a funeral placed on hold. For now, they’re hoping to celebrate his life with a service in July.
Until then, they’re sharing their grief via FaceTime.
“I hope my story and my family’s story resonates with people, and they don’t have to go through this pain. This is a horrible thing to go through. It’s one thing to lose someone you love. It’s entirely different to not be able to grieve with your family,” said Hargrove.
Following her grandfather’s death, Hargrove’s grandmother, uncle, aunt and cousins were forced to begin a second two-week quarantine. Thankfully thus far, none are showing symptoms.
Hargrove said her grandfather spent years working in real estate, helping the Bishop Arts district become what it is today. Prior to that, he served as a pastor in the Baptist church.
She said he was best known for making people feel special.