For six decades, Don Livengood never left his wife Margaret’s side. Their inseparable bond was so strong that not even death could tear them apart.
That time came on Aug. 15 when the North Carolina couple spent their last moments together holding hands before they both passed away.
“Mom and daddy fell in love with each other every day – over and over – for over 59 years,” their daughter Pattie Beaver told Today. “And still, God renewed them each day, and it never got old. They were married to their best friend.”
Beaver had brought both of her parents to the Carolinas Healthcare System on the same day last month.
Don, 84, was having trouble breathing due to his pulmonary fibrosis and bilateral pneumonia. Margaret, 80, was fighting cancer.
When they were admitted, the two were placed in separate rooms on the same floor. But when Don’s conditioned worsened, he was moved to the ICU on another floor.
That’s when the hospital staff noticed Don’s morale took a hit.
“As soon as they moved farther apart, you could tell the toll it took, particularly on Mr. Livengood,” said Dr. Randy Schisler, a physician who treated the couple at the hospital. “It was easy to see the anxiety and how nervous he felt, always wondering what was going on with his wife.”
It was arranged for Margaret to visit her husband on occasion but eventually hospital staff arranged it so she could move to the room next to him.
With the help of her nurses, she would visit her husband several times a day. They would roll her bed into his room and place them side-by-side so they could hold hands.
“It was normal for them to be holding hands,” Beaver tells The Daily Mail, “their love was so precious. But it was the sweetest, most precious thing you can imagine to see them holding hands in the hospital.”
Once this happened, Don’s anxiety disappeared, Schisler says.
“He relaxed once he was able to have her right there, and could feel like he was still involved in helping take care of her during what ended up being her last days,” he says.
Margaret began sleeping more often but that didn’t stop Don from reminiscing about old memories to visitors.
But at 8 a.m. on Aug. 15, Margaret passed away, followed by Don nine hours later.
Just before Don passed, he told his children and grandchildren that he was looking forward to joining his wife in heaven, The Daily Mail reports.
“When we get to heaven, we can walk in together, just like we’re getting married again. Another honeymoon,” Don said to Beaver.
“They had a love like no other,” Beaver says, as reported by CBS8. “And that love will live in our hearts forever.”
“This is one of those cases I don’t think any of us is ever going to forget,” Schisler said to The Daily Mail. “Seeing these two people who had spent their lives together, together in the same room as they took their last breaths, none of us are ever going to forget this.”
“They were the most loving couple I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing,” Bill Hallman, the family’s pastor, told Global News. “I’ve been in the ministry for over 40 years and they were just fabulous people. Just wonderful.”
Don and Margaret met while they both worked at the same company. When Don first saw Margaret, he told his friends he would “date that pretty young lady.”
The couple married on Margaret’s birthday on June 15, 1957.