Whatever you believe, there’s something universal about the power of love that lives in all of us. It’s as inspiring as it is unifying, and when you find it, it’s almost impossible to let go.
That’s what kept Henry and Jeanette De Lange of South Dakota together for a staggering 63 years of marriage.
Henry was a Korean War veteran, and Jeanette was a musician. Jeanette, who was 87 and living in a nursing home, suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. Her son Lee recalls, “Dad visited Mom […] three times every day, and it was just very sweet.”
Henry, at 86 years of age, had prostate cancer. Their health was failing equally in different ways, which prompted a call from the doctor to alert their children.
The Platte Health Center Avera, where Jeanette was staying, was quick to admit Henry. “They put Mom and Dad in the same room, which was very sweet,” Lee said.
At 5:10 p.m., Jeanette passed peacefully in her sleep. Keith, another one of their sons, turned to his father and said: “Dad, Mom’s gone to heaven. You don’t have to fight anymore — if you wanna go, too, you can.”
It’s a lot like the story of Joan and Walter Moss, who also passed together after a life of service and love. Billy and Betty Hunter come to mind, too — proving that the power of love is always with us.
Miraculously — and I’m getting chills just writing this — Henry closed his eyes after hearing his son say those words and passed away only 20 minutes after his wife.
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