A couple died just hours apart on Sept. 17 after 55 years of marriage (video below).
The love story of Ana Maria and Domingo Chavez ended with the two holding hands in bed. Family members say it was a fitting conclusion to their story, which began more than five decades ago on the dance floor.
In 1958, Domingo and Ana Maria met at a Blue Moon Dance in Pharr, Texas. "My grandpa, he liked to dance," Krystal Chavez, their granddaughter, told KTVB.
Relatives believe it was love at first sight. "Anybody he talked to they'd just like melt when they talked to him because he loved everybody," Krystal said. But he loved Ana Maria most of all. "That's her man. She really made it known," Krystal added.
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They got married in 1961. Throughout their 55 years of marriage, the couple did everything together. From traveling, to raising their eight children, to working together at the same Idaho farm, their love for each other was always known.
Family members from across the country traveled to Texas for their 50th wedding anniversary, a celebration of love.
Ana Maria was diagnosed with dementia in 2006. Domingo was diagnosed with the same ailment soon after. Freddie, the couple's oldest son, cared for them at his Caldwell, Idaho, home.
In early September, the couple's health quickly deteriorated. Ana Maria was being kept alive only by the defibrillator in her pacemaker, and Domingo was taken to the hospital, where he was placed on life support.
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The hospital told the Chavez family they could take Domingo home or keep him in the hospital.
“Our decision was to bring [him] home so they could be together,” Kayla Paz, another granddaughter, said. Because of that decision, the couple was able to spend their final moments side by side.
Family members pushed their beds next to each other and clasped their hands together on a heart-shaped pillow. Ana Maria passed away first on the morning of Sept. 17, still holding her husband's hand. Domingo died later that day.
"They don't suffer anymore, and I know they're in heaven right now looking down on us just dancing away in the streets of gold," Freddie, the couple's oldest son, said.
The couple is survived by their eight children, 30 grandchildren and 32 great-grandchildren.