Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 21 August 2019

'She will be with me forever': Dubai filmmaker tells of grief after wife dies

Jody Ann Rodriguez, 56, spent almost two weeks in a coma after suffering an aggressive asthma attack

Lucas plays a recording of his sister reading Peter Pan to their mother, Jody Ann Rodriguez, who fell into a coma two weeks ago. She died on Sunday. Reem Mohammed / The National
Lucas plays a recording of his sister reading Peter Pan to their mother, Jody Ann Rodriguez, who fell into a coma two weeks ago. She died on Sunday. Reem Mohammed / The National

The husband of a woman who fell into a coma after an asthma attack last month has spoken of his grief after his wife died in Dubai on Sunday.

Jonathan Ali Khan’s wife, Jody Ann Rodriguez, 56, had been treated in a private Dubai hospital since June 29 – after a severe attack left her unable to breathe. By the time she reached the nearest hospital, her brain had been starved for oxygen for 45 minutes.

Doctors said that, on Sunday, her vitals suddenly dropped and she had a heart attack. Efforts to revive her failed and she was declared dead.

“I am completely in a daze, completely lost,” said Jonathan Ali Khan, the Canadian’s husband of 13 years.

“Even just going to the hospital to sit next to her is better than now.

“What I have left is just to remember her and talk to her in my heart.”

Mr Ali Khan, 58, a wildlife film maker, had been planning to transfer his wife to an experimental programme abroad after local doctors told him her chances of recovery were slim.

The family had started an online appeal to raise funds for their increasing medical bills, as neither Mr Ali Khan – who is still recovering from heart failure and pulmonary oedemas – nor his wife had health insurance.

“We will be keeping the appeal going for as long as we can,” said Mr Ali Khan, who now faces a hospital bill of Dh170,000.

Messages of condolence flooded in from social media, where Mr Ali Khan had been posting updates about his wife’s condition.

He said he was grateful for the good wishes and support from the UAE and abroad. He found the outpouring of support from people who knew Rodriguez before she moved to Dubai particularly touching.

“She was a very modest person,” he said. “She probably would have hated all the attention and she would have probably given me hell for it.”

Meanwhile, family members have been arriving to lend their support and attend a small local service – the date of which has yet to be set.

Rodriguez is survived by her sons Lucas, Mateo and Nico, and daughter Ashley.

Jody Ann Rodriguez pictured with her son Mateo. All pictures courtesy of Jonathan Ali Khan
Jody Ann Rodriguez pictured with her son Mateo. All pictures courtesy of Jonathan Ali Khan

“They are all dealing with the grief in their own ways,” Mr Ali Khan said. “Lucas is very strong. He is trying to focus on the fact that she is no longer suffering and in pain.

“I believe the same. She has always been a very stubborn woman and she followed her path.

“She is with God and in peace and this is something I find strength in.”

The couple were high-school sweethearts who reconnected later in life.

They married on a beach in Fujairah and were, according to Mr Ali Khan, true soul mates. “She will be with me forever,” he said.

Updated: July 17, 2019 09:29 AM

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