Looking back on their 33 year marriage, Christine Tralongo says the pain of living without her husband Allen Hirschman is a daily struggle.
"I feel like I've not only lost my husband, but my best friend and my soulmate, and the person that I loved being with the most,” said Tralongo.
Now, after his death from the coronavirus, it's the memories that bring her comfort—of the Brooklyn boy who grew up just blocks from Ebbets Field, but became a devoted and lifelong Yankees fan.
"He used to go up to the Bronx with his cousin and watch Yankee games and go to double headers,” said Tralongo. "That was something that he kept his whole life."
Among the treasures he left behind are a collection of books and a baseball signed by Joe DiMaggio himself. His love of the Yanks sometimes made it hard to watch the pinstripes in action.
"Lots of times he would not be able to watch the game live, because he'd be too nervous that they might not win,” Tralongo remembered. "He would wait and if they won, he would watch the replay."
Hirschman enjoyed a distinguished career at ABC, creating buzz for the network's primetime lineup. He retired from its marketing department after more than three decades. Later in life, a diagnosis of Parkinson's brought health challenges, which made him vulnerable as the virus spread.
"He did have one medical appointment around the middle of March. Again, nobody was wearing masks,” Tralongo said, adding that they became ill with the virus exactly two weeks later.
For Hirschman, his condition worsened almost immediately. The 80 year old was rushed to NYU Langone by ambulance.
At times, he seemed to improve, until Tralongo got the call that he was slipping away. Fortunately, she was allowed to see him.
"I was able to hold his hand and he kind of squeezed my hand, so he knew I was there,” she said, recalling his final moments. "I told him I loved him and I told him I knew he loved me. I told him, ‘You're never going to be alone. I'm always going to be with you.’”
She also sang "It Had to Be You,” their special song.
Tralongo takes solace in those final moments together and in the luck that they found each other all those years ago.
"He was a very loving husband, but he was a very devoted son, a wonderful nephew,” said Tralongo. "What more can you say? He was one of the good ones."