In this day and age the idea of being with someone our whole lives seems to be quite lost. We tend to find ourselves in one relationship after the next, with each only lasting just a few years at most. While there are exceptions to this, real lasting love doesn’t seem as prominent as it once was.
I recently came across the story of a couple who lasted far longer together than most could imagine and their time together seems to be far more inspiring than most would assume. Isabell Whitney and Preble Staver according to People Magazine were married after serving in World War II and had been in love far before then. They died on the same day in 2017 after sharing just ‘one last nap together’ the day before.
Laurie Staver Clinton, one of their five children told People magazine as follows about them after their passing:
“They were great people. Mom really taught me that you can’t change another person but you can change your attitude towards them. Dad was a bit of a prickly pear!”
“Dad was the strict one. Mom tried to be strict, but we knew what we could get away with her. It was pretty much a father rules the roost sort of thing.”
She said that her father and mother were one another’s support team without a doubt, and they even managed to grow closer after the death of her brother Peter who died playing football during the last game of his senior year of high school. Isabell and Preble had served their country well and intended to spend the rest of their lives together, so that was exactly what they did. After having been by one another’s side for so long Isabell began showing signs of dementia and so the family made a decision to move them into a care facility back in 2013.
After some time the couple was not able to share a room and Preble was wheelchair bound, but he still wheeled himself down to his wife’s room to see her. While her dementia was quite bad, Isabell never forgot who her husband was.
NPR wrote as follows on the days before the couple’s passings:
Staver Clinton said her parents shared an unexpected moment like that just days before their deaths when Isabell was taken to visit Preble for his 96th birthday on Oct. 17.
“All of a sudden I heard this little warbly voice,” Staver Clinton said. “And Mom, totally unprompted, sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to Dad.”
It was all the more remarkable, she said because her mother had stopped communicating with her father at that point.
Staver Clinton said Preble had told her months before that all he wanted for his birthday was to take a nap next to his wife, something they had been unable to do for a while because of their health. The family arranged for the couple to lie in bed together, where they slept side by side for two or three hours.
“It was the, really, the catalyst of them being able to let go, I believe,” Staver Clinton said.
She said both of her parents seemed calmer and more peaceful afterward. Within a few days, a hospice nurse told Staver Clinton that both were moving closer to death.
On Oct. 25, days before what would have been her own 96th birthday, Isabell received last rites from their Episcopal priest while Preble held her hand. Preble died about 14 hours after Isabell, on the same day.
These two had lived out a real life, and they had spent it in the best way possible. They made a commitment and managed to keep their love alive all of those years. Their story is one that ends on a heartbreaking but positive note, we all have to leave this world at one point or another and at the very least they managed to do so together.
Forget a love like Romeo and Juliet, I want a love like Isabell and Preble. While they have been gone for quite some time now, I am sure wherever they are, that they are still together even now. This is truly inspiring, in every sense of the word.