Death is inevitable for every living being on Earth, and sooner or later, everyone experiences the emotional pain of losing a loved one.
A deep wound remains in the heart that takes a long time to heal. And although it is said that time heals, the pain of loss stays with us for many years. Unfortunately, this has always been, is, and will always be the case.
The story of Bobby Moore and his wife Jerry, which I want to tell you about, is exactly about that.
After 59 years of marriage, Jerry passed away, leaving Bobby alone in this big world.
When photographer April Yurchovich-Shepperd saw the grieving widower by his late wife’s casket, she was so touched by the scene that she described it in words.
Neither what she wrote nor the heartbreaking photo were meant to be shared online. However, at the request of Bobby and Jerry’s family members, April published her story on Facebook in the hope that it would help other people cope with the pain of loss.
This is a story about how death is an integral part of our lives and also about how love is the most powerful force on Earth.
Perhaps it may seem too long to some, but I still recommend that you read it until the end. I assure you, it is worth it.
“Today I witnessed true love. Not the love that young people feel, driven by passion and raging hormones. And not the love that newlyweds feel, vowing to live in eternal love and devotion until death separates them.
In our world, where promises have lost their value and sacredness, today I saw something rare, like a precious diamond in an exquisite setting. Today I saw a man, broken by the grief of losing a loved one, standing next to his most valuable possession. It was the embodiment of genuine love.
When he entered the room, his steps were awkward but determined, and his eyes were fixed on the center of the room where he was heading. Next to two lamps stood a steel gray casket. One half of the lid was open, and on the other half lay beautiful bright flowers, adorned with ribbons bearing the words “beloved wife” and “beloved mother.”
Approaching the casket, he immediately leaned down and kissed her painted lips, while his fragile body trembled, trying to stay upright.
Then, very gently, he whispered just a few words to her. Of course, he had said those words countless times, but on that day, he said them to her for the last time.
“I know you can’t hear me,” he whispered. “But… I love you.” Tears streamed from his eyes.
The family farewell was scheduled for an hour or so later, but he came early. He didn’t want to lose those last few hours. She had been with him for 60 years, but it felt insufficient to him. Completely insufficient.
Then he pulled a chair closer and sat on it. Next to the casket, he sat for almost an hour, holding her hand with his right hand and caressing her with his left. He rubbed her hands and patted them with his palms. This was his usual way of comforting her, but on that day, he was comforting himself.
Strangely enough, he seemed unconcerned that her skin was cold and her body was still; he was not bothered that she didn’t respond to the words he whispered to her. Oddly, everything seemed completely normal, except for the abundance of flowers and small gifts sent by sympathetic friends.
As family members gradually gathered, he continued to sit, holding her hand and occasionally stroking her hair.
“She looks beautiful, doesn’t she?” he asked when their children approached. Everyone agreed. And everyone cried.
He remained by his wife’s side for nearly five hours until his exhausted body and mind needed a break.
This person, this devoted man, showed more compassion in moments of grief and sorrow than many do in times of prosperity. I felt strong emotions watching this incredible devotion. I had never seen someone so broken by the death of a loved one. As I watched him, I couldn’t help but wonder how he would live tomorrow and the day after, and the day after that. Today was probably just the beginning of a difficult journey for him.
While she was still here, lying next to him, within reach, and he could kiss her lips, what about tomorrow, after her body was deep in the ground? He would return to his home, surrounded by her belongings, her scent still lingering on the pillows, her handwritten grocery list on the vase, and a chair waiting for its owner. But the bed would be empty. How does one sleep alone after 59 years of sleeping next to a beloved person? I can’t imagine how one can continue to live peacefully with all of this.
Today I witnessed true love. And I will witness it again tomorrow when the story ends, and the light goes out in the empty room.
The story of Bobby and his 59-year love.