Elderly Couple Rekindles Love Post-COVID
On the evening of Valentine’s Day, Jacqueline Daughtry-Miller and her husband James Miller will enjoy the sounds of Gregory Porter at the Music Center at the Strathmore in Bethesda, Maryland. This date will be the latest in a series of outings the couple has embarked upon since Daughtry-Miller survived her bout with COVID-19.
Shortly after the pandemic began in 2020, Jacqueline contracted COVID. For three weeks, she was on a ventilator and over the next year suffered from isolation, depression, organ failure, and sepsis.
Amid the numerous surgeries and uncertainty about whether Jacqueline would survive COVID, James regularly checked in with doctors, nurses, and hospital staff about Jacqueline’s health. At one point, he even snuck into the hospital and held Jacqueline’s hand as she laid in bed, unable to move.
Later, upon Jacqueline’s transfer to a rehabilitation facility, James brought her laptop and other supplies to the facility as she slowly immersed herself in her work. He also engaged facility staff members to track his wife’s progress. “James was my spokesperson. He called the hospital [at least] once a day,” Jacqueline said.
“I had that deep respect for his caring and taking care of things that I had always maintained. Now that’s what husbands and wives are supposed to do, but that doesn’t happen. It brought me a new kind of special love [for my husband] that continues to grow.”
Throughout the pandemic, many people 65 and older who contracted COVID relied on spousal and family support to mitigate the illness. Responsibilities include acquiring and doling out medication, setting appointments, and managing daily affairs. Caregivers, like James, often work in conjunction with doctors and nurses to provide around-the-clock care.
James and Jacqueline married in 1997, just nine months after meeting for the second time at a New Year’s Eve party Jacqueline hosted. Decades prior, James and Jacqueline crossed paths; James’ girlfriend was friends with Jacqueline’s first husband. James even attended Jacqueline’s wedding to her first husband.
By the time James and Jacqueline tied the knot, James had been in the throes of his law career, working with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Jacqueline’s wealth of professional experience included a stint at what was then known as Independence Federal Savings Bank, where a significant number of students secured college loans.
In speaking about their marriage, James and Jacqueline said they’ve always thrived on communication and spending time together. Since Jacqueline has been well enough to travel, activities include visiting grandchildren over the holidays. They also took a day trip to New York during which they had much of the top row of the Megabus to themselves.
These functions count among many excursions that James said he’s excited to take with his wife now that they have rekindled their love.
“You got to keep doing things together outside of the home. We have a few concerts [with] the oldies but goodies groups at the Blue Dolphin. We’re going to Colorado in May and are going to the Outer Banks again, Virginia Beach for a week or two to play a bit of golf, and we’re going hand dancing.”