A devoted Iowa couple married for 72 years died holding hands in the hospital last week, exactly one hour apart.
The passing reflected the nature of their marriage, where, “As a rule, everything was done together,” said the couple’s daughter Donna Sheets, 71.
Gordon Yeager, 94, and his wife Norma, 90, left their small town of State Center, Iowa, on Wednesday to go into town, but never made it. A car accident sent the couple to the emergency room and intensive care unit with broken bones and other injuries. But, even in the hospital, their concerns were each other.
“She was saying her chest hurt and what’s wrong with Dad? Even laying there like that, she was worried about Dad,” said the couple’s son, Dennis Yeager, 52. “And his back was hurting and he was asking about Mom.”
When it became clear that their conditions were not improving, the couple was moved into a room together in beds side-by-side where they could hold hands.
“They joined hands; his right hand, her left hand,” Sheets said.
Gordon Yeager died at 3:38 p.m. He was no longer breathing, but the family was surprised by what his monitor showed.
“Someone in there said, ‘Why, then, when we look at the monitor is the heart still beating?’” Sheets recalled. “The nurse said Dad was picking up Mom’s heartbeat through Mom’s hand.”
“And we thought, ‘Oh my gosh, Mom’s heart is beating through him,’” Dennis Yeager said.
Norma Yeager died one hour later.
It warms my heart to know such a lasting love really existed. Thank you Gordon and Norma for showing ‘ever after’ can be real.
What greater thing is there
for two human souls,
than to feel that they are joined for life
to strengthen each other
in all labor,
to rest on each other
in all sorrow,
to minister to each other
in all pain,
and to be with each other
in silent, unspeakable memories.