The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is being much crueler and is continuously snatching away many of our loved ones. In a similar tragic incident, a family from Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut district lost their 24-year-old twin sons to the deadly disease just hours apart from each other. “Our family is broken. Covid took away my sons who had never harmed anyone in their entire lives. We are only three in the family now,” said their grieving father Gregory Raymond Raphael, who has another son, the eldest.
Born three minutes apart, the two brothers, named Joefred Varghese Gregory and Ralphred George Gregory, were both engineers and tested positive for COVID-19, just a day after they turned 24 on April 23. Their eldest brother had also tested positive for Covid-19. Residents of Meerut’s Cantonment area, the Gregory family initially treated the brothers at home, thinking the fever would subside, however, it didn’t. Speaking to TOI, Gregory said, “We purchased an oximeter. When their oxygen level dropped to 90, doctors advised us to take them to the hospital.”
The twins were then admitted to Anand Hospital on May 1 and after a few days on May 10, the young men tested negative for the virus. “Doctors were planning to move them from the Covid ward to the normal ICU. However, I requested the hospital to monitor their health for two more days in the Covid ward. Then, suddenly, on the evening of May 13, my wife got the call. Our world crashed.”
Gregory Rafael and his wife Soja — both teachers at the St Thomas School in Meerut — received a call at around 11 pm on May 13 from the hospital saying their 24-year-old son Joefred Varghese Gregory had passed away due to Covid. Earlier that day, Joefred had complained of breathing issues. Meanwhile, Ralphred who was in the same hospital was also battling for his life after his condition deteriorated. And when Ralphred spoke to his parents and enquired about Joefred’s health, he immediately sensed something was wrong, even though, his mother said that Joefred had to be moved to a hospital in Delhi. “Maa, you are lying. Something has happened and you are not telling me,” Ralphred told his mother. And, the very next day, Ralphred also succumbed to Covid.
The two brothers who pursued B Tech together from Karunya University in Coimbatore, were working from home in Meerut due to the COVID situation in the country. While Joefred worked in Accenture Pvt Ltd, Ralphred was with Hyundai Mubis Company. Following their death, the family has been holding prayer meetings to find peace and strength.