'Dad was right there with her': Son snaps photo of parents on life-support before father dies

A bittersweet photograph of a husband holding his wife's hand in the intensive care unit of a hospital just hours before he passed away is proof "true love never dies," their son says.

'He truly cared about her more than he cared about himself,' Chris Mininni says of father

This powerful photo of Jim Mininni and Cindy Ireland holding hands shortly before he passed away was taken by their son Chris. The Brockville resident said the photo proves that 'true love never dies.' (Chris Mininni)

A bittersweet photograph of a husband holding his wife's hand in the intensive care unit of a hospital just hours before he passed away is proof "true love never dies," their son says.

Chris Mininni of Brockville, Ont., captured the poignant moment at Kingston General Hospital on May 4, just before his father, Jim, passed away. His mother, Cindy Ireland, was heavily sedated when the photo was taken and unaware of what was happening.

Chris posted the photo on Facebook on May 17 and the story has since made headlines all over the world.

"The reason I took it was so that when she came off life-support, she could see that Dad was right there with her," Chris told CBC News. "If there's one definition of my dad, it's that he was a proud husband and proud dad."

Chris said his dad, who was battling lung cancer, was admitted to Kingston General on April 28 and that his mother was admitted to Brockville General Hospital — roughly 70 kilometres away — a day later after suffering a heart attack. 

"Me and my brother don't drive so going between Kingston and Brockville was really rough," Chris said. "We tried to get mom transferred to Kingston but no one could help us."

'His face lit up'

Chris said that on May 3, his dad's doctor "took it in his own hands to get my mom to Kingston.

"I should've realized it wasn't a good sign but I was so appreciative of what he did." 

Chris, who was later informed that a large tumour was blocking his father's airway, said his dad had signed a do-not-resuscitate form because he "didn't want to prolong the inevitable."

He said his dad was calm and composed until he "erupted in tears" as soon as he was informed that Ireland had suffered a heart attack and was in the same hospital.

"He truly cared about her more than he cared about himself," Chris said.

While the family was saying their goodbyes to Jim, Chris said his dad "he kept writing the letters M and O on a piece of paper.
Chris Mininni said watching his parents hold hands for the last time was 'the roughest thing ever.' (Chris Mininni)

"He was finally able to write 'Mom' and when the doctors said it would be possible for him to see her, his face lit up like a kid who's been told Santa's coming tomorrow." 

Chris said watching them hold hands "was the roughest thing ever but we were also basking in the moment of how truly wonderful it was." 

He says the first thing his mother asked him after waking up was, "'Is Dad dead?'"

"My dad loved my mom with all his being," Chris said. "Nothing could keep them apart."

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.