The Associated Press reported a sad but very sweet story about a couple who had been married for 70 years who died within 15 hours of each other. The husband just didn’t want to be on earth without her. It’s like “The Notebook” but for real. (I weep through that movie every time.) Here’s the story.
“NASHPORT, Ohio (AP) — A couple who held hands at breakfast every morning even after 70 years of marriage have died 15 hours apart.
“Helen Felumlee, of Nashport, died at 92 on April 12. Her husband, 91-year-old Kenneth Felumlee, died the next morning.
“The couple’s eight children say the two had been inseparable since meeting as teenagers, once sharing the bottom of a bunk bed on a ferry rather than sleeping one night apart, the Zanesville Times Recorder reported (http://ohne.ws/1in7erG).
“They remained deeply in love until the very end, even eating breakfast together while holding hands, said their daughter, Linda Cody.
“We knew when one went, the other was going to go,” she said.
“According to Cody, about 12 hours after Helen died, Kenneth looked at his children and said, “Mom’s dead.” He quickly began to fade and was surrounded by 24 of his closest family members and friends when he died the next morning.
“He was ready,” Cody said. “He just didn’t want to leave her here by herself.”
“Son Dick Felumlee said his parents died of old age, surrounded by family.
“At Dad’s bed we were singing his favorite hymns, reading scriptures and praying with him,” he told The Associated Press in an email. “It was a going away party, and we know he loved it.”
“The pair had known each other for several years when they eloped in Newport, Ky., across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, on Feb. 20, 1944. At two days shy of his 21st birthday, Kenneth — who went by Kenny — was too young to marry in Ohio.
“He couldn’t wait,” son Jim Felumlee said.
“Kenneth worked as a railroad car inspector and mechanic before becoming a mail carrier for the Nashport Post Office. He was active in his Nashport-Irville United Methodist Church as a Sunday school teacher.
“Helen stayed at home, not only cooking and cleaning for her own family but also for other families in need in the area. She taught Sunday school, too, but was known more for her greeting card ministry, sending cards for birthdays, sympathy and the holidays to everyone in her community, each with a personal note inside.
“She kept Hallmark in business,” daughter-in-law Debbie Felumlee joked.
When Kenneth retired in 1983 and the children began to leave the house, the Felumlees began to explore their love of travel, visiting almost all 50 states by bus.
“He didn’t want to fly anywhere because you couldn’t see anything as you were going,” Jim Felumlee said.
Although both experienced declining health in recent years, Cody said, each tried to stay strong for the other.
“That’s what kept them going,” she said.”
My mother had an aunt and uncle like this. We were certain that as soon as the uncle died, the aunt would pass too. But she held on for about two more years. We were very surprised. She kept redoing the house — knocking out walls and buying new furniture. I’m not sure if she was just passing the time or these were changes he wouldn’t let her make when he was alive.
Walsh is currently reading “Where the Red Fern Grows” for school, and I remember a similar thing happening with the dogs. I remember crying my eyes out reading that as a kid. I keep warning him it’s going to be sad. You have no idea how sad it’s going to be.
Do you think you would die if your spouse did? (I don’t think it applies so much to young couples as the spouse would need to take of the children. But I think once the children are grown and can care for themselves I could see a spouse falling into a depression without their mate.)