High school sweethearts die of Covid-19 hours apart after one last family video call

Blanca Estela and Juan Manuel Rodriguez officially became a couple in high school.

(CNN)Blanca Estela Rodriguez looked at her husband of almost 50 years as he lay sedated. Juan had a tube coming from his mouth and a machine was breathing for him.

As they each battled the effects of Covid-19, Blanca wanted Juan to know she still found him to be handsome.
What would have been a deeply moving message in person was instead imparted in a video call among the couple, their four children and numerous grandchildren.
Rather than being together, Blanca and Juan had been transported to different hospitals in San Diego. His bride was doing all the talking, even though she was wearing an oxygen mask and struggling to breathe.
"She told my dad that he was the love of her life and that she loved him," daughter Blanca Velazquez recalled. "She told us all that she loved us."
The call ended with Blanca telling her husband she would see him later.
The 67-year-olds from San Diego, who became an official couple in high school, died just hours apart following the call, their family said. Covid-19 took Blanca first and about three hours later, her soulmate Juan joined her, also on February 8.
Now their four children are left to do the unthinkable: Bury both of their parents following a joint funeral and visitation on Wednesday.
They are having to cope with the loss of their parent's legendary love, their vanished presence in everyday conversations and with the finality of a funeral at a time when the world is upside down.

They fell in love in high school

Ever since they met in middle school as seventh-graders in homeroom, there was an instant bond. Juan flirted with Blanca and Blanca talked about his big green eyes. Each of them immigrated from Mexico as children before they met at a San Diego middle school.
"When she would turn around and look at him, he would wink at her. She remembered that he had these green eyes," daughter Anna Cabral said. "I guess around that time he started telling her and his friends that he was going to marry her one day."
The pair was just 11 and 12 years old and before there were butterflies, they were just schoolchildren. They got back together as high school juniors, but Blanca maintained she wasn't that interested in Juan and they broke up.
Juan was at the sweethearts dance with another date during their senior year, when Blanca told him she wanted him back.
Juan and Blanca were high schoolers when they fell in love.