I recently read an article about Gordon and Norma Yeager’s real-life love story. It made me cry.
In May of 1939, the inseparable high school sweethearts got married in Iowa. The young couple began their life together not long after graduation and had four children. Their youngest child, Dennis, said of their love, “They’re very old-fashioned. They believed in marriage ‘til death do you part.”
Last week, Gordon, 94, and Norma, 90, took a ride into town together. They were involved in a car accident and were taken to the intensive care unit of Marshalltown’s hospital. Although they were unresponsive, the nurses instinctively knew not to separate them and placed them in the same room.
Gordon died first, holding hands with his wife of 72 years. Exactly one hour later, Norma joined her husband. The family surrounded the couple as they made their way into eternity.
Dennis told the chilling story to Des Moines News Channel KCCI-8:
It was really strange, they were holding hands, and Dad stopped breathing but I couldn’t figure out what was going on because the heart monitor was still going, but we were like, he isn’t breathing. How does he still have a heartbeat? The nurse checked and said that’s because they were holding hands and it’s going through them. Her heart was beating through him and picking it up.
At their funeral, Norma and Gordon held hands in their casket, and the family said they would be cremated and their ashes mixed together – a symbol of the closeness they shared for over seven decades.
A story like this really warms the soul. There are so many single people—like yours truly—looking for that special someone to share life with. But, for the most part, we are surrounded by stories of heartbreak, cheating and divorce. It’s easy to get cynical and jaded, deciding to just settle or choose what’s best “for right now.”
I want to find my very own Gordon Yeager. I want to love a man that will love me back, unconditionally and faithfully. I want to start a family together, and watch grandchildren and great-grandchildren enter the fold. And I want to be lying next to him – heartbeat to heartbeat – as the Lord takes us home.
Let’s get real, though — I’m already 31. The odds of me being married for 72 years are slim. Although I have been drinking lots of carrot juice lately, lasting until 103 years old isn’t exactly easy these days.
Still, for however many years I’m blessed to be in love, I want them to count.
For one couple in central-northern Italy, that count is up to 1,500 years!
Recently, the skeletal remains of a Roman-era couple were found. Italian archaeologists say the man and woman were buried together between the 5th and 6th centuries A.D. The woman, wearing a bronze ring, is positioned to be gazing at her partner.
“We believe that they were originally buried with their faces staring into each other,” says one archaeologist. “The position of the man’s vertebrae suggests that his head rolled after death.” This possibly happened in the catastrophic flood of 589, as reported by the historian Paul the Deacon.
The type of trench tomb in which they were buried suggests that they were not particularly rich.
“They were possibly the inhabitants of a farm,” said the archaeologist.
Well, I say they were rich indeed. Anyone blessed enough to find true live is rich, but anyone who finds a love to last 1,500 years is rich beyond measure.
The archaeologist went on to say, “I have been involved in many digs, but I’ve never felt so moved.”
That’s because everyone understands how truly important love is, how truly blessed we are to find it, and how truly rare it is to make it last.
As for Gordon and Norma Yeager of Des Moines, Iowa, theirs lasted 72 wonderful years.
As for the Italian skeletal lovers, theirs lasted 1,500 years.
And as for me, these stories have renewed my hope in finding that true, true love – the kind you never want to let go.