This is part of a Yahoo News series honoring some of the American lives lost to COVID-19. Their stories are told by family and friends, who were left to deal with their often sudden and painful deaths.
Nicholas Caravassi, 68, of Aubrey, Texas, formerly of Fords, N.J., died on March 28, 2020, after becoming ill with COVID-19. He’s among the more than 540,000 Americans who have lost their lives to the disease since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic early last year.
His wife, Carol Caravassi, told Yahoo News that her husband was a kind and outgoing person who made friends everywhere he went.
“Some people collect things,” Caravassi said. “I always told Nick, he collected friends wherever we went.”
The couple were married for 48 years, and lived in New Jersey for most of their lives. They enjoyed traveling the world together. Caravassi said taking a trip every year with her husband helped renew their relationship. “We managed to fall in love over and over again,” she added.
Nick Caravassi was a devoted father to their only son, David. They had a “great relationship” and David “was the light of his life,” Carol Caravassi said.
At the age of 47, Nick had a close call with death when he suffered a heart attack. His wife said that the experience changed him, and “he became this person that threw caution to the wind completely.” He began living life on the edge, doing sports activities such as skydiving, scuba diving and flying helicopters. This, she said, was great for David, who was a teenager at the time. “My son just thought his father was awesome because he did all of these cool and dangerous things,” she said.
Nick worked in sales in the printing industry. But his favorite jobs, Carol said, were the ones he had after retirement. One of them was working for a friend who had an after-school childcare program. He also spent many years as a bartender at different venues in New Jersey. Carol said the job was perfect for him because of his friendly and outgoing personality. “He would sit down there and flip the cups and make his fancy drinks and tell his stories over and over again.”
In late January 2020, the couple decided to move to Texas to be closer to their son. They took a monthlong road trip before arriving in the Lone Star State. On March 4, 2020, they moved into their new home. And on the same day, they celebrated their 48th wedding anniversary.
A week later, Nick began to feel sick and was taken to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with COVID-19. Shortly after, Carol also began feeling symptoms and was hospitalized. They were both put on a ventilator and treated by the same doctors and nurses.
After 11 days in the hospital, Nick died. Carol was still unconscious, and found out about her husband’s death three weeks later when she came off the ventilator.
“It’s very hard that I survived and he didn’t,” she said.
Continuing her life in a new place without her husband has been extremely difficult and painful for Carol, but she says that he continues to give her strength.
“I know Nick would want me to keep going,” she said. “He’s pushing me. I know when I break down and cry and I can’t do something, I can’t fix something, all of a sudden, there’s this burst of understanding and knowledge and I get through it, and I just look up and say, ‘Thanks, honey. I needed that.’”
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