Society

‘I Can’t Live Without Him’: 97-Year-Old Woman Dies Hours After Husband Of 76 Years

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A British couple who were together for more than 70 years died within hours of each other on their 76th wedding anniversary.

Clifford and Marjorie Hartland met in Cardiff in the 1930s.

Clifford passed away at age 101 on July 29. Just 14 hours later, Marjorie, 97, died as well. Their daughter Christine said her mother “died of a broken heart.”

A frail Clifford died at Saint Martin’s Rest Home in the room he shared with his wife.

“Afterwards, Mum just kept saying, 'I can't live without him.’ That night, Mum rang me,” Christine said. “She was upset and I told her to think about all the happy times they'd shared in their marriage while she drifted off to sleep." 

"She died at 1am, and I like to think that's exactly what she was doing," she told the Daily Mail.

Their love had already beat the odds.

Clifford, a veteran of World War II, was a gunner in the 7th Coast Regiment Royal Artillery and was sent to Singapore on Oct. 1, 1941. His regiment surrendered to the Japanese in 1942. Clifford one of only four survivors forced to work the Thailand-Burma railway line, an endeavor that killed 13,000 prisoners of war.

“In 1942, Mum got a letter from the Colonel of the Coast Regiment saying Dad was missing, presumed dead,” Christine said. “She had the papers to claim a widow's pension.

“But every day, on her way to work, Mum would go into the church she passed and pray that Dad would come home. She lived without him for four years, but she never believed he was dead,” she said.

A war hero, Clifford was discharged in 1945 and came home to a street party in Coventry.

“Dad was in hospital for a while after he came back from Burma, but neither of them cared. They were just so happy to be together again,” Christine said.

“It's a perfect love story,” she added. “I'm devastated they're gone but so happy for them - they've never really had to live without one another.

“They did every single thing together in life, so it’s only right they have a joint funeral, too.”

Sources: Daily Mail, Coventry Telegraph

Image credit: Flickr Creative Commons / Ricky Norris, Flickr / Ernst Vikne