Interview About Goodbye Call Brings Anchor to Tears

CNN's Brooke Baldwin talks to woman who was able to FaceTime with her dying mother
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2020 1:15 PM CDT

Video chat services aren't just keeping people in touch amid the pandemic. With deathbed visits off the table, they're also allowing people to speak their final words to loved ones before they succumb to the coronavirus. CNN's Brooke Baldwin couldn't hold back tears Monday as Michelle Bennett described how a nurse had initiated a FaceTime call from her mother's cellphone as the 75-year-old took her last breaths in the Swedish Issaquah hospital in Washington state. "She put [the phone] right up to my mother's face, and I could tell my mom I loved her, and how much I was going to miss her," Bennett said. She said the nurse had called from her personal cellphone to arrange the virtual meeting. As she "took the phone back up, I could see the nurse just crying," Bennett said. (Watch the CNN interview here.)

Carolann Christine Gann—a nurse for 38 years—died within an hour of the call. "I know how difficult this is for [health care workers]" but "that was one of the most amazing things I've experienced," Bennett said, noting another nurse spoke with her sister for 45 minutes after her shift ended. Of her mother, she added, "I know she wasn't alone. That was the biggest thing for me." A family in Washington state said goodbye to Merle and Dolores "Dee" Tofte in much the same way. Merle, 86, and Dee, 85, were diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 13 and died within hours of each other on March 16, reports the Washington Post. Hours earlier, five children and four grandchildren called via FaceTime, with two granddaughters singing the couple's favorite love song. Buried in matching pajamas, they would've celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary in June. (More coronavirus stories.)

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