A Tennessee couple experienced separate hospital stays just before their 69th wedding anniversary and were reunited to share their last moments together.
People Magazine detailed how Doyle Thomas “Tommy” Stevens Jr. and Virginia McKarem Stevens resided in an assisted living facility together, but on Sept. 8, Tommy experienced breathing issues and low blood pressure.
He was taken to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) and diagnosed with sepsis and pneumonia.
On the same day, Virginia, 91, had a bad fall and was taken to the VUMC as well. She had six broken ribs, a spinal fracture, and a hip injury.
When it was determined that Tommy, also 91, would not make it, the couple was reunited at the hospital to hold hands and share their last moments together.
Their daughter, Karen Kreager, noted how they “both lit up” upon seeing each other.
She said, “He was awake when she came in.”
“His eyes were open. He wasn’t communicating a lot — just in small whispers,” she went on.
“But he knew that she was there and that she was going to be right beside him. They [didn’t stop] holding hands the whole time,” Karen concluded.
Tommy passed away the day before their 69th wedding anniversary, but Virginia stated, “You know, it helped me a lot.”
“It just gave me peace that I wouldn’t have to worry about him. He was going to be with me,” she added.
Virginia passed away nine days later on Sept. 17. The image of them holding hands remains a symbol of love for their daughter.
She explained how the couple’s dual hospital visit and passing allowed the family to focus on each other.
Kreager said, “The most important thing for us was that they were together.”
Virginia’s obituary detailed her life with Tommy and states, “What a love story. In life, in death, in life eternal. Together.”
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