LATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) — As the country mourns the 500,000 lost to COVID19, many families in the Capital Region are marking the day by remembering their loved ones who died from the virus. NEWS10’s Anya Tucker shares the story of Leon Dukes and his wife Linda.
Leon Dukes says it was love at first sight the day he met his wife, Linda.
“She came to our church, and she walked by me and my heart jumped out,” says Leon.
Linda had his heart, but the couple also shared a love of the Gospel; Linda was a minister in the city of Troy. She also provided a spiritual lifeline to female inmates at the Albany County Jail through her Freedom Bound Ministries.
The couple shared their love of God and service to their community and their family. But then came March of 2020 and Linda became ill with the coronavirus.
“And I was just so upset — excuse me for crying — that I could not spend any time with her. Very difficult. Very hard,” said Leon.
In the midst of her struggle, in what appeared to be a miracle, Linda suddenly emerged from her coma and was able to call home.
“I said I am too overwhelmed. And I said I have been asking God if I could just hear her voice…if I could hear her voice one more time. And she was speaking to me and it was plain and clear. I didn’t realize until later she was a little disoriented.”
What seemed like recovery would be short-lived, and Linda passed away on May 3, 2020.
But Leon knows he’s not alone.
Just one of so many surviving loved ones belonging to the half a million in the U.S. who were lost to the coronavirus.
“We often talk about [how] we have a mansion in heaven. She said, ‘If you get there before me, save a place in the mansion for me.’ And I said to her, ‘If you get there before me, you save a place.’ So, right now I know she’s saving a place in heaven so that we can reunite.”