Alice and Darrell Jones, both young, in college and in love, were raising three children together. Earlier last week, they both got sick with the flu. On Monday, Alice, an aspiring Dallas nurse, was dead. She was 29.
“I made it through Afghanistan and thought we would move on with our lives,” Darrell Jones, who turned 27 the day his wife died and served in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan for nearly a year, told ABC News. “I was thinking that was the most dangerous part of our marriage.”
According to ABC News, neither Jones nor his wife had gotten flu shots this year. After his wife’s death, University General Hospital doctors insisted that the three children, ages 10, 7 and 3, be checked out and vaccinated.
One of the children tested positive for flu.
“If that didn’t happen, maybe my son would have died, as well,” Jones told ABC News. “I don’t know what I would have done if it was my wife and son.”
“This is so sad,” said Dr. Richard Besser, ABC’s chief health and medical editor. “Each year thousands of people die from the flu. Fortunately, most people who get the flu are sick for a couple of weeks but fully recover.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 3,000 and 49,000 Americans die of influenza each year. More than 200,000 are hospitalized annually with flu-related complications, such as pneumonia.
The family will hold a funeral for Alice on Jan. 10, and in the meantime, her husband is encouraging others to get their flu shots.