ROSWELL, Ga. (WSET) -- A local former Miss Virginia is now being crowned a Christmas miracle after a near-death experience with COVID-19.
Barbara Guthrie Lay was pronounced dead on December 22, but minutes later, she came back to life.
The 82-year-old former Miss Martinsville and Miss Virginia currently lives in Roswell, Georgia with her husband of six years, Tony Lay.
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Barbara contracted COVID-19 from the couple's next-door neighbor.
She was having difficulty breathing so Tony took her to the hospital. Two days later, he received the call that she had passed away.
He says he made tearful phone calls to family and friends, and then, he received the call that she had a pulse.
"I was overjoyed and tearful again," Lay said. "I went from being miserable and brokenhearted to overjoyed."
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Lay says they are still unsure how this all happened. Barbara has since moved from the ICU to a regular room.
At this time, she doesn't know that she briefly passed, and they are still deciding when and how to tell her.
"I have always loved my wife," Lay said. "I just didn't realize exactly how much until this happened and that I can't live without her."
Lay says Barbara is a fighter and says she wants to live to 101 so they can celebrate their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.