Isaac and Teresa Vatkin, who were married for 69 years, died “peacefully” beside each other at Highland Park Hospital in Illinois, according to their obituary.
As it became clear their time together was nearing an end, the hospital staff brought their beds together, and the family positioned the lovebirds to be hand in hand, the Daily Herald reported.
“I didn’t want them to be scared,” granddaughter Debbie Handler told the Daily Herald. “I thought maybe if they knew the other was there, it would help.”
Teresa, 89, died first, with her 91-year-old husband, Isaac passing away 40 minutes later — just moments after his wife’s bed was taken from the room.
“His hand was on top of hers. He was trying to breathe. And then, as they wheeled her out, his hand was hanging over the bed. I turned around, and he wasn’t breathing anymore,” son Leo Vatkin told the Chicago Sun-Times.
The couple met in Argentina, marrying in 1947 and eventually moving to the U.S. They settled down in Skokie, Illinois, where they raised three kids.
Isaac became his wife’s caretaker after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and his family believes that remained true even in the final moments of their love story.
“The moment he felt we removed her hand from his, he was able to say ‘OK, I’m done protecting her. I can go and rest as well,’ ” said their son Daniel Vatkin. “The ultimate in chivalry — so he could go to heaven and open the door for her.”