Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A feel great story that is also a bit sad

Someone on Twitter posted a link that led me to the following story:

Couple together for 59 years; die moments apart

DEFUNIAK SPRINGS – He was quiet. She wasn’t. He liked to hunt, while she loved her potted plants.

She was 16 when they met in a skating rink. They eloped in a dump truck later that year.

After 59 years of marriage, James and Lolie Brackin died Saturday morning only moments apart.

“They say when you die, you’re immediately in the presence of Jesus,” said their youngest daughter, Dana Troublefield. “I think she got up there and said, ‘Where’s my husband?’ And Jesus said, ‘Just a minute. I’m working on that.’

“She didn’t like to go anywhere alone,” Troublefield added.

At the time of their deaths, James was 79 and Lolie three years younger. They called each other “Honey” so often that one of their granddaughters thought it was her grandfather’s name.

They had four daughters, Carol, Debbie, Cindy and, finally Dana, who came 20 years after their first.

James told their oldest daughter, Carol Gruver, almost a decade ago that he was worried about dying first because he didn’t think Lolie would be happy without him.

“He was just waiting for her to go home to heaven so he could go with her,” Gruver said.

James spent more than 25 years in the Army, completing tours in Vietnam and Korea. Lolie was a homemaker, who stepped into her husband’s duties during his absences and stepped back into hers when he returned.

They faced challenges over the years, but never argued in front of their children.

“They completed each other,” said their third oldest, Cindy Spence. “I remember as a teenager, my parents had a big Mercury station wagon. My mom would always sit next to him.

“When they would walk somewhere, they would always hold hands.”

Recent years had brought increasing health problems to the couple. Both had memory loss. He was blind and had suffered strokes. She was in a nursing home on and off for years, while he stayed at their home with their youngest daughter.

The week before the couple died, it had become obvious that he was too weak to stay at home and arrangements had been made for him to share his wife’s room.

They spent one night together before they died, waking up Saturday morning and having breakfast together.

They were watching Animal Planet, one of their favorite shows, when a nurse’s aide checked on them.

“I’m going to die today,” Lolie told the aide, who asked her if she needed to go back to the hospital. No, she just felt “different,” Lolie told her.

When the aide came back a short time later, Lolie wasn’t breathing. Moments later, they discovered James had also passed away.

The doctor said he believes James heard that his wife had died and the shock killed him.

James and Lolie had always dreamed of having a church wedding, but it never happened. They will be buried together and share a funeral service on Wednesday at 11 a.m. at the First Baptist Church of Woodlawn.

“We’re going to miss them terribly, but we’re glad this happened the way it did,” Gruver said. “He was waiting. It’s a good thing that he was in the room when she passed.”

You can click here to go to the article & to see pictures of the couple.

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Anonymous said...

Reminds me of the movie "the Notebook" and I only thought things like that happened in the movies. Thanks for sharing their story. I often wondered if true love existed. They proved it did.

Sarah and Derek said...

LOVE this story. So cute and romantic, even in the face of death. PS - How did the crock pot candy go? Our friends loved it and I loved how easy it was! (And yes, we're moving to Cleveland in Feb for Derek's job!) Hope you have a wonderful Holiday!

Emilie Wagner said...

And now I'm crying at work....great! Love stories like this and hope that some day to be in a couple like james and lolie! Can't wait to see you :)