The 56-year-old Kenly man spent nearly a week at WakeMed with cuts, bruises, broken bones and a collapsed lung – injuries from the powerful tornado that destroyed his house early Saturday morning.
It changed his life in more ways than one. His wife, Marylin Gomez, died that morning when the house collapsed on her.
"We got married 22 years ago," Gomez said. "We lived together 24 – good times, bad times, but we stayed together."
All he has left now, he says, is his memories.
Born June 9, 1947, in New York, Marylin was a homemaker and a loving wife, mother and grandmother.
Gomez remembered how the two liked to joke with one another, recalling the last conversation they had before she died.
The two had fallen asleep in separate rooms, he said. But hours before the tornado hit, he went to check on his wife:
"Her final words – I said, 'Honey, are you OK?'
'Yes, I am.'
'Goodnight, I love you.'
'Honey, are you sure?'
'Leave me alone!'"
Now, Gomez will say goodbye.
Family and friends will gather Thursday at 7 p.m. for a memorial service at Minshew-Coley Funeral Home on East Second Street in Kenly.
"With little that I had, she never missed anything that she wanted in life," Gomez said, recalling one Christmas when she begged him for a pool table that he had already bought her as a gift.