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31-year-old father, husband dies of COVID complications after month-long battle

Curtis Jones became sick with COVID-19 before he could get his second vaccine shot. After his death, his wife is leaning on her faith and the kindness of strangers.

ATLANTA — They say when you meet the one, you can’t imagine life with anyone else. That was certainly true for India and Curtis Jones who were never without each other for long.

“We knew we were meant to be together when we met 11 years ago. And he's just my best friend,” said India.

The pair became the sun and the moon in their seven-year-old daughter’s universe, and according to India, she was the "entire world" for her father.

However, Curtis got COVID before he could get his second vaccine shot. He began showing COVID-19 symptoms on Aug. 24 and doctors admitted him on Sept. 3. 

The virus lead to pneumonia and severe lung damage, with the 31-year-old father in desperate need of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, treatment, according to his wife.

“How it works is, when your lungs are severely damaged, that gives your lungs time to actually rest and breathe, where the vent really doesn't do that,” India explained.

India talked to 11Alive in mid-September about their struggle to find a hospital with the life-saving treatment. At that time, Curtis had been on a ventilator for six days. But finally, he was transferred to Atrium Health.

"He actually had three really good days on ECMO, everything was you know exactly how it's supposed to,” India said.

But it wasn’t enough. Curtis passed away on Sept. 24.

“He had a few days that were really good but he had to have a lot of blood thinners. And unfortunately,  he was one of those that it caused a brain bleed. And so, the brain bleeds just ended up just getting worse,” India said. “Eventually, he ended up becoming brain dead. So, he couldn't breathe on his own. But I was able to be there when he took his last breath, you know, I was in the bed with him, prayed over him, loved on him."

Devastated and now planning a funeral, India is keeping Curtis as close to her as possible, wearing his cross necklace around her own neck.

“He’s worn it for year and year and never took it off. Now, I’ll never take it off,” she explained.

Now, India’s moving from the role of wife to that of a single mother, but there’s comfort she’s finding in her daughter Ava Grace.

“She’s actually been a stronghold in my life right now. Every night after we finished in our prayers together, we just look up and we say ‘we love you, Daddy, love you, Daddy.’ So, that's something we'll always do,” India explained.

And then, there’s comfort found in the unlikeliest of places. After our first story with India, hundreds of people started doing the unexpected.

“I've had people reach out to me and say that they've actually never prayed in their life and they were on their knees for him every single day. And I've had people reach out and say, ‘I'm going to let the petty stuff go in my marriage. I'm going to look at my husband longer and memorize his face. I'm going to let small things go I'm going to love like I'm supposed to,’” said an emotional but grateful India. “Things like that are just life-changing for me as well.”

Strong believers in their faith, India said she feels as if God healed Curtis, just not on this Earth. And she added the prayer warriors sent her way are now helping her heal.

India would rather have Curtis here, right next to her, as he’s always been. But she knows, no matter what, Curtis will always be her one.

“I know I'll be with him again, might be a little while,” India said, her voice cracking with emotion. “But, I'll be with him again.”

Curtis’ family started an education trust fund for his daughter, with 100% of the fundraiser going to her college education. For those that want to learn more, the family asks people to email agjeducationaltrust@gmail.com

A celebration of life will be held for Curtis on Sunday, Oct. 3 at Abby Manor, 3073 Highway 100, Greenville, Georgia 30222 with a private committal to follow.