When 91-year-old George Doughty was rushed to the hospital with pneumonia, his 92-year-old wife, Dorothy, feared the worst.
He was sedated and moved to intensive care three days later. His wife of 68 years was unable to visit him because she suddenly became ill with shingles.
Her spirit was too weak and her body too frail to fight the virus. She died alone without her husband knowing she, too, had been sent to the hospital.
Ten hours later George also passed away. The couple who met during the Second World War had never spent a day apart during their marriage.
The two met at Manchester Piccadilly railway station for a blind date. He agreed to carry a newspaper and she held a rose. They recognized one another immediately and their love blossomed.
They married and raised two sons – Allan and Paul. They had five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Their son Paul explained, “They were just two lovely people who were very family orientated…”
At their funeral their coffins lay side by side. On top of Dorothy’s there lay a newspaper. On top of George’s there lay a rose.
Death itself could not conquer their unique bond. Did the heartbreak of separation finally kill them? Or was the timing of their passing a simple twist of fate?
Human beings are sentimental creatures. We have a soft spot for love stories which show that love can even survive death.
The media never tires of reporting on them. And we never tire of hearing about them.
Irene Jordan died a mere seven days after the death of her husband Bernard Jordan. They had been together for 50 years. Their tale made a massive splash in the British newspapers. It’s not hard to fathom why.
When people who have been together decades die within days of one another, it both saddens and warms our hearts. It suggests that love is eternal and can survive even the touch of the Grim Reaper.
It also suggests that in some circumstances a broken heart can actually kill you. There is a scientific theory to back this up. It’s called ‘broken heart syndrome’.
The death of a loved one causes immense stress at any age. When we lose a spouse our emotions run riot. The grief paralyzes us. The loss makes us incapable of carrying on our normal day-to-day activities.
Extreme stress cripples us both mentally and physically. It can have a serious effect on the heart. And when the heart is old and run-down, some people say it’s not willing or even able to survive the loss of a lifelong partner.