CORAL SPRINGS, FL – For 43 years, the Coral Springs couple was always together, finishing the other’s sentences and looking out for the other’s best interests.
“We were soulmates,” said Ellen Kaplan.
So, earlier this month, when her husband Alan, 69, died of complications related to coronavirus, Ellen was naturally devastated.
What made matters even worse for her was not getting a chance to say goodbye as Alan slipped away in a matter of days at Broward Health Coral Springs.
And even more painful was not getting to pay final respects at her husband’s graveside service in West Palm Beach, instead relying on the funeral director to place a phone next to Alan’s casket so Ellen and her two daughters could offer their last words virtually.
“It’s terrible not to be there for someone you love for so long,” said Ellen, who is 64.
But the shock of losing Alan to the coronavirus didn’t end there. After his death on April, 3, Ellen started to feel sick. She got tested for the coronavirus. She soon learned she was positive.
Now, she’s quarantined at home, away from her family and grieving alone.
“I got infected in my own home,” she said.
She said her family is deeply supportive, sending her food and flooding her with calls daily. But it’s hard to be locked in a home surrounded by the memories she and Alan created together over the past 30 years in Coral Springs.
After meeting at a mixer in Whitestone, New York in 1976, the couple went on five dates before Alan stopped calling. Ellen, then, took matters into her own hands and had a talk with Alan’s mother about a future she wanted to have with him. The couple got back together and were later married.
They eventually made their way to Florida, living first in Plantation, then Tamarac, and settling in Coral Springs. Alan was an accountant and had clients across South Florida through his firm Jain Accounting. The couple enjoyed cruising and visiting Las Vegas.
“We looked out for each other no matter what,” Ellen said.
Emotionally and physically exhausted from Alan’s death, Ellen is carefully watching her health, making sure she’s eating properly, as she battles coronavirus. She watched helplessly as the disease ravaged Alan in less than two weeks.
She feels particularly sad for her daughters who can’t be with her now to comfort each other and grieve together.
“This just breaks your heart,” she said.