Updated: May 18, 2021 12:21:29 pm
On May 13, Gregory Raymond Raphael and wife Soja, both teachers at St Thomas School in Meerut, received a call saying their 24-year-old son Joefred Varghese Gregory had passed away due to Covid. Joefred’s twin Ralphred was at the same hospital battling for his life, and the parents say when they talked to him, Ralphred immediately sensed something was wrong. “Maa, you are hiding something. Something has happened and you are not telling me,” Ralphred told his mother feebly. The following day, Ralphred also succumbed to Covid.
Born three minutes apart, the two brothers—hard-working, devoted to the family—died within hours of each other. “Our family is broken. Covid took away my sons who had never harmed anyone in their entire lives,” says Raphael, who has another son, the eldest.
Raphael, who moved with Soja from Kerala after their marriage in the early 90s and settled in Meerut, says the twins developed fever on April 23, which lasted several days. “They took medication but their condition deteriorated.” Around May 1, both were admitted to Anand Hospital after their oxygen saturation levels began dipping, and had to be eventually put on ventilator support in the ICU.
But, on May 10, after the two tested negative, the parents were hopeful. “Three days later, our world came crashing… When Joefred died, I had a sixth sense that Ralphred would not make it. Simply because they were inseparable.”
The two even pursued B Tech together from Karunya University in Coimbatore, and in their final year, secured placements. While Joefred worked in Accenture Pvt Ltd, Ralphred was with Hyundai Mubis Company. Joefred had been for a while in Meerut, working from home due to Covid, while Ralphred had come on leave from his Hyderabad office due to an arm injury.
The staff at Anand Hospital also recalls their bond. “They were fit, well-built, 6 ft in height. The hospital staff, the doctors tried our best,” says Dr Munesh Pandit, the administrator, while not discounting the possibility of Ralphred deteriorating following Joefred’s death, even though the two were in separate sections.
The family has been holding prayer meetings, seeking to find strength. However, Raphael admits: “My faith in the Almighty has been shaken. My sons were pure and did not deserve this… They would massage my legs whenever I had aches. They liked being at home, doing household chores, even cooking… My eldest son now keeps telling my wife and I that we cannot leave him.”
Raphael adds: “I hope the two brothers are at peace, together.”
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