By Liz Collin

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The pandemic has prolonged the grieving process for many Minnesota families as some have been forced to wait for a final goodbye.

Doris Rasmusson died from COVID-19 in June of 2020. Her husband, Wilton, a World War II paratrooper, passed away more than a year later in August.

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As a granddaughter looking back on the lives of such special people, Amber Rasmusson couldn’t help but reflect on how surreal the last 15 months have been.

“Not being able to be with her obviously was the most difficult part of it,” Rasmusson said.

Her grandma, Doris, got COVID in her memory care unit as her grandpa, Wilton, kept watch from his room in assisted living.

“They gave him a laptop in his room and he was basically able to watch her 24/7, so he would call down to the front desk and go I think she’s cold, she’s stirring a lot,” Rasmusson said.

Doris worked for the Dayton Hudson corporation and Target. She died nine days after testing positive for the virus at the age of 94 and one day shy of marking 74 years of marriage to Wilton.

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A WWII paratrooper, Wilton was honored in-person two years ago by the Norwegian ambassador for what he did defending Norway from the Nazis.

“They worked really hard. They valued hard work,” she said.

After a brief illness, Wilton, died in August at 102, more than a year after his late wife.

“We did hold a small service for her last year, but there was five of us that didn’t feel sufficient to say goodbye to her. It made sense to me to hold a memorial for both of them today,” she said.

Amber believes her grandpa was ready to be reunited with his bride.

“When he was getting close to passing, he asked if he was going downtown to dance with my grandma again,” she said.

Giving a family comfort on their long quest for peace.

“They’re sipping champagne and they’re dancing,” their granddaughter said.

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Liz Collin