Wedding turns to funeral as groom suddenly passed away due to COVID-19

MANILA, Philippines – A groom-to-be became one of the victims that fell to the deadly COVID-19.

Ralph Waldo G. Landicho, a seafarer and his fiancée Raquel F. Panganiban were excited to start their new life together. The couple had endured a long distance relationship and have been together for four years before finally deciding to tie the knot.

Everything was all set for the couple until COVID-19 destroyed their plans. Three days after their initial wedding date, Ralph passed away after suffering from the symptoms of coronavirus for days.

According to Raquel, Ralph was busy making sure all the wedding preparations were in order as soon as he landed in the Philippines that he missed getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

"Kung saan-saan na po kami nagpunta. Bumaba siya ng barko at hindi agad kami nakapagpa-vaccine kasi super excited siya sa pag-aayos ng kasal namin," she recalled.

After a surprise proposal followed by "pamamanhikan," the couple set their wedding date on July 31, 2021.

On July 19, Ralph started complaining of body aches and soon experienced chills. Raquel shared, “He wanted to get a massage so he could relax because he felt tired then—until he started having chills and fever on July 24. We went to the hospital for a check up and the laboratory results were okay."

Soon after, they decided to have Ralph take a swab test. Unfortunately, the result came out that he was COVID-19 positive. It was the beginning of their ordeal as Ralph had difficulty in breathing.

After lining up at hospitals to secure a bed for Ralph, they finally got him admitted. While in the hospital, the couple didn't waste time encouraging each other and making plans for their future.

"We encouraged one another. Ayaw pa mamatay ni hubby kasi dami pa niyang gustong mangyari sa buhay namin bilang mag-asawa, ganun din sa pamilya niya. Sinasabi nya palagi na, ‘Bebe, hinde pa ako mamamatay. Magiging official pa ako?’" Raquel recalled.

"He would always tell me, ‘Mahal na mahal kita, asawa ko’ and I would tell him that I love him even more," she added.

By August 3, Ralph started having terrible dreams as his condition was getting worse. "His breathing got worse and his coughing was getting more severe. His oxygen level was going so low that he even finished around 20 oxygen tanks in less than 24 hours. He also switched to breathing using the high-flow oxygen machine already," she shared.

Within that day, Raquel lost Ralph as he succumbed to the virus. His body was cremated as the funeral was prepared on the same day. Raquel could not describe the pain of losing someone she loves.

Wedding turns to funeral covid-19

"Mahirap. Masakit. Nakakapanghina. Wala kaming magawa kung hindi mag-iyakan ng mag-iyakan. Lahat pumunta at lahat ng nagmamahal sa kanya ay dumating, lalo na ang mga kaibigan ni hubby," she said.

Meanwhile, Ralph's sister Roxanne shared on Facebook the tragic love story of her brother and Raquel. "From congratulations to condolences?" she wrote.

"There are no goodbyes. SAIL ON brother! You will forever be in our hearts," she added.

— Sally, The Summit Express

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