Society

Husband, Wife Of 59 Years Die Holding Hands On Same Day

| by Kathryn Schroeder
Margaret and Don LivengoodMargaret and Don Livengood

A North Carolina couple who were married for 59 years died on the same day holding hands.

Pattie Beaver brought her mother Margaret, 80, and father Don Livengood, 84, to the hospital on the same day. Margaret suffered from cancer and other ailments; Don had difficulty breathing because of pulmonary fibrosis and bilateral pneumonia.

The hospital initially placed the couple on separate floors, Beaver told People.

"It broke my heart," she said of her parents being separated.

Beaver pleaded with hospital staff to place her parents in the same room, and hospital chaplain Beth Jackson-Jordan worked with the doctors and nurses to make it happen.

"The need for them to be together overrode any of the other normal concerns," Jackson-Jordan said.

Dr. Randy Schisler, who treated Margaret and Don, is proud of how the hospital worked together.

"I'm really proud," he said. "We stretched as far as we could with the rules to allow things that aren't typical because it was the absolute right thing for these patients and for this family."

After four days apart, the hospital placed the Livengoods in the same room and in a manner that they could see one another and hold hands.

"Once they were together, it was just that sense of everything was going to be OK," Beaver said. "We knew because they were together."

The couple spent the last days of their lives holding hands.

On Aug. 15, Margaret died at around 8 a.m.

During one of her last moments of consciousness, she said to Don, “Darling, come on, let’s go," according to the Salisbury Post.

Don passed away later that day just after 5 p.m.

"I remember her beside him even when she wasn't able to communicate,” Denise Hopper, a hospital chaplain, said, according to People. "I remember him holding her hand and everybody in the room could feel and see the connection. It was very touching to know they had journeyed their entire lives. And as it came to the end of their lives, they were able to be together."

Dr. Schisler will never forget Don and Margaret.

"This is one of those cases I don't think any of us is ever going to forget,” he said. “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."

The couple’s son, David Livengood was surprised by the response of the hospital staff to his parents passing.

“It’s the first time I’ve seen doctors and nurses with tears in their eyes,” he told the Salisbury Post.

Even though Beaver lost both her parents on the same day, she is comforted because they were together.

"It gave me comfort to know that this is exactly what they would want and the hospital was able to make that happen,” she said, according to People. “In the most horrific grief I've ever had in my life, I still had comfort because they were together."

Before Don passed, he said something to Beaver about Margaret that left her in awe.

"When we get to heaven, we can walk in together, just like we're getting married again," he said. "Another honeymoon."

Sources: People, Salisbury Post / Photo credit: Livengood Family via People

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