Husband of Dawson’s Creek writer who took his own life amid long battle with COVID is engaged

The late Dawson’s Creek writer’s husband, who died by suicide while battling COVID long term, found love with a COVID-19 support activist and is now engaged.

Filmmaker Nick Güthe, 52, met his fiancée, Diana Berrent, 48, founder of Survivor Corps, a COVID support and advocacy group, while mourning the loss of his wife, Heidi Ferrer, in May 2021.

The TV and film writer struggled with a range of debilitating long-term COVID symptoms for 13 months before taking her own life at age 50, leaving behind her husband of 20 years and their then 13-year-old son, Bexon.

“I believe Heidi led me to her,” Güthe said People of its bittersweet romance. ‘It seems like a strange thing to say, but the way it all happened was so extreme, so violent, so beyond what I would ever wish on my worst enemy, having to go through what I went through, what my son has been through.’

Filmmaker Nick Güthe, 52, is engaged to Diana Berrent, 48, following the death of his late wife, Heidi Ferrer, in May 2021

Ferrer, a television and film screenwriter, struggled with a range of debilitating long-term COVID symptoms for 13 months before dying by suicide at age 50

Ferrer, a television and film screenwriter, struggled with a range of debilitating long-term COVID symptoms for 13 months before dying by suicide at age 50

Ferrer, who contracted COVID-19 in April 2020, was unable to walk, eat or even urinate without pain in the months leading up to his death.

“Over the past few weeks,” Güthe explained, “she was really worried that there was only one trajectory, and that she ended up in a wheelchair, unable to wash herself, unable to do what whether it be.”

The grieving widower opened up about Ferrer’s chronic symptoms earlier this year in a heartbreaking column published by The Guardian.

What started as a “mostly asymptomatic coronavirus infection,” according to Güthe, escalated into fatigue, flu-like symptoms, brain fog, and body aches, including severe foot and ankle pain.

Sex and urination became painful for Ferrer, and she also suffered from persistent gastrointestinal issues, swollen toes and a “host of other ailments”.

“Within six weeks of noticing ‘COVID toes’ and some gastrointestinal issues, she could barely walk due to excruciating nerve pain in her feet so extreme it mimicked advanced diabetic neuropathy,” a- he writes.

Ferrer, who contracted COVID-19 in April 2020, was unable to walk, eat or even urinate without pain in the months leading up to his death.

Ferrer, who contracted COVID-19 in April 2020, was unable to walk, eat or even urinate without pain in the months leading up to his death.

Ferrer feared becoming a burden on her husband and their teenage son, Bexon, who was 13 when she died.

Ferrer feared becoming a burden on her husband and their teenage son, Bexon, who was 13 when she died.

Güthe was mourning the death of his wife when he contacted Berrent, who is the founder of Survivor Corps, a COVID support and advocacy group

Güthe was mourning the death of his wife when he contacted Berrent, who is the founder of Survivor Corps, a COVID support and advocacy group

Güthe explained that Ferrer had been deprived of “every part of her life worth living”, saying she had become immobile, lost her ability to eat and was unable to read because the brain frog prohibited him from retaining information.

Ferrer died by suicide at their Los Angeles home just over a year after contracting the virus. Güthe recalled how he “desperately tried to revive her” while their son waited outside for paramedics. She was declared brain dead at the hospital.

Güthe contacted Berrent in New York via direct message after he tweeted about Ferrer’s death, and they quickly connected on the phone.

He told People he asked her about what he missed and what he could have done differently to help his late wife during their first call.

Berrent assured him he “didn’t miss anything”, insisting he couldn’t have done anything else to ease his symptoms.

Three weeks before Ferrer’s death, she made Güthe promise that if she didn’t he would ‘let the world know what COVID is doing to people’

“I believe Heidi led me to her,” Güthe told People of her bittersweet romance with Berrent

Güthe and Berrent (pictured with friends) became a couple in October, months after sharing their first kiss

Güthe and Berrent (pictured with friends) became a couple in October, months after sharing their first kiss

Berrent agreed that the best way to honor his late wife was to raise awareness of the long-term effects of the virus. She helped orchestrate a number of media appearances for the widower, including interviews on CNN and NPR.

Their phone calls quickly became daily and they chatted for three to four hours straight.

“At first she gave me a safe haven for my grief,” Güthe said of Berrent.

“She gave me permission to be as vulnerable as ever in front of another human being,” he added. “I learned that I could trust him with my innermost feelings.”

Berrent faced his own difficulties that summer. She and her then-husband had moved to suburban Washington, D.C. with their two children, Zelda and Spencer, who were 14 and 12 respectively, but their marriage was falling apart.

She leaned on Güthe for support when she returned to her childhood home in New York to care for her mother, who was dying of terminal cancer.

They first met while visiting a family friend in Los Angeles, but their relationship didn’t turn romantic until August.

Güthe and Berrent, who have three children between them, knew they wanted to get married after getting matching lightning bolt tattoos last fall

Güthe and Berrent, who have three children between them, knew they wanted to get married after getting matching lightning bolt tattoos last fall

They are due to marry in California on November 12, but their marriage will be bicoastal until all of their teenagers graduate from high school.

They are due to marry in California on November 12, but their marriage will be bicoastal until all of their teenagers graduate from high school.

Güthe had flown to New York that month to attend a march across the Brooklyn Bridge in honor of COVID victims. They both gave speeches during what Berrent described as a “really intense day.”

The New York natives dined in the East Village that evening and shared a kiss after walking him back to his hotel. They officially became a couple in October.

The couple knew they wanted to get married after getting matching lightning bolt tattoos during one of their trips to Los Angeles in November.

Their wedding is due to take place this fall in California on November 12. Their marriage will be bicoastal until their three children graduate from high school.

Güthe described his newfound love as “bold, passionate and yet tenderly loving” while sharing how much it means to him that she has learned everything she can about his late wife.

Berrent has read almost everything Ferrer has written, including all of his unpublished blog posts and memoirs. He added that she also encouraged Bexon to put pictures of her mother-to-be in their new home, saying, “She needs to be here.”

“She gave me permission to feel true happiness and joy again,” he said. “And when you can feel joy and happiness, the excitement comes back. And when the enthusiasm comes back, your world starts to expand, your expectations of what’s possible go up. She raised my expectations for what than the rest of my life could be.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is an American suicide prevention network of more than 160 crisis centers that provides 24/7 service through a toll-free hotline at 1-800-273-8255 . It is accessible to anyone in a suicidal crisis or in emotional distress.