Couple dies hand-in-hand after 67 year marriage

By Efrosini Costa

Couple dies hand-in-hand after 67 year marriage
A 67-year-old-romance came to a storybook end as a couple took their lasts breaths while holding hands.

It’s the stuff or romance legends, an ending usually reserved for the movies, a California couple died arm-in-arm after a life devoted to each other.

Floyd Hartwig, aged 90, and his wife Violet, aged 89, passed away together hand-in-hand according to their daughter Donna Scharton.

“The whole thing was overwhelming, pretty traumatic, but we were trying to go by their wishes that they wanted to die at home and that they wanted to go together, they were that devoted to each other,” Donna told reporters.

The Hartwigs died at home on their beloved 20-acre ranch  surrounded by family members.

Sensing that death was imminent for the pair, their family helped to keep the couple as close as possible in their final hours.

“We pushed the hospice beds together as close together as we could and then we put their hands together so they could be holding hands,” Scharton said.

“My father died holding my mother’s hand and then my mother died five hours later.”

Only two weeks earlier Floyd had been told by doctors that he had two weeks to live, after blood tests showed he was suffering kidney failure.

According to his daughter he died “two weeks to the day.”

It woudl be the last time his wife, who he affectionatley called ‘Vi’ would be by his side, having stood by and watched her husband battle both colon and bladder cancer in his 60’s.

Vi had also suffered her fair share of health problems including multiple strokes and in her later years, dementia.

Despite having stopped eating and weighing just 60 pounds in the last month before her passing, Vi would eat breakfast with Floyd every morning.

“We could tell from the holidays that she was doing down a lot but he would not give up in helping her,” Donna said of those final months.

Even though his health was failing, Floyd’s attention and focus was always his adoring wife. His last visit to the doctor he was reluctant to admit that he was experiencing a sharp pain in his side, saying to the doctor: “I’m okay, I just want Vi fixed.”

This enduring love first began after the old school acquaintances were reunited at a dance club while Floyd was back home on leave from the navy.  The Hartwigs were married in 1947 and went on to have three children, four granchildren and 10-great-granchildren.

Their family insisted the couple be looked after at home by a hospice caretaker.

“We told both of the them on the last day, when they were really struggling, that it was okay to go,” Donna said.

“We wanted them to know it was okay with us. It was time. They wanted to go together.”

Even at their combined funeral their family positioned the two caskets at an angle to signify their love for each other.

In between the couple were photos from their wedding and flowers.

“I think everybody kind of felt they had a special connection to other. You could tell they had a special love.”




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