It’s always fascinating when we hear of a husband and wife who wind up spending practically all of their lives together only to die hours apart, even when the causes of death are not directly related. It has happened again.
What is it about the human condition that allows a man or woman to just completely shut down when they lose a lifetime mate?
In Ohio, a woman named Helen died at the age of 92. Her family knew that her 91-year-old husband, Kenneth, wouldn’t be around that much longer.
They had been married for 70 years, after all, and this particular couple was so dedicated to being together, the family says, that once on an overnight ferry ride, they crammed together in one of their compartment’s two bunk beds so as not to be separated even for one evening.
When you have that level of dedication to each other, I suppose no one can be surprised that one wouldn’t want to live without the other.
Even so, it does seem a little surprising to me that any family, even knowing of that intense desire not to be separated, can find peace knowing they both went together, when they then have to mourn two family members rather than one.
Maybe it just seems that all of them — the couple and their family — possess an inner strength that those of us who stand outside of that immediate circle have a harder time grasping. And maybe it has to do with our own individual sense of independence; if we consider ourselves the independent type, maybe it just feels harder to relate to wanting to die with someone in this way.
Not that it isn’t a sweet story or an amazing testament of love: it is.
It just seems so hard to understand if you aren’t in that kind of relationship. I’m not sure I know of a couple my age who, in 50 years, seems a likely candidate for that kind of self-sacrifice.
Maybe no one sees that kind of dedication coming until it just happens.
What do you think?