They showed the world how much they loved each other & how seriously they took their vows 70 years ago when even death couldn't keep them apart.
Imagine being with someone for a really long time, growing old with them and losing them without getting the opportunity to say goodbye, what would you do? It's a really tough situation to be in but Kathleen Atkins, 86, knew exactly what she wanted and couldn't wait too long to join her husband, Raymond Atkins, on the other side.
90-year-old Raymond just wanted to be at his home in Crewe, Virginia, and spend his and his wife's 70th wedding anniversary after fighting a two-year-long battle against lung cancer reported The Mirror.
The loving couple's story began seven decades ago when they got married at Kathleen's farmhouse and bought the house where they raised their four kids. They went through a lot of things together, even cancer. "That's just where life happened from them," said the couple's son Les Atkins, according to WRAL.
Les also revealed that even when his father was diagnosed with lung cancer two years ago, "He continued to work. He did not want to give up working." Mid-July, Raymond was admitted into a hospital but by July 22, 2020, he was done staying in the hospital and returned home to spend the rest of the days with his wife and celebrate their anniversary.
"He called me and said, 'I prayed to God all night and all day that I can leave this hospital, and I will be out of here in the morning.' This was the day before their anniversary," said Les. Raymond's prayers worked and he was back in the house that he and Kathleen lived in together for 70 years.
But life can be quite unfair sometimes. Raymond's health began to get worse as days went by and started feeling weak once again. Kathleen could not even bear the thought of spending her life without her husband whom she loved dearly. "She told my sister that she could not imagine life without him," revealed Les.
The couple's daughter and Les's sister decided to stay with her parent during the final days. August 4, 2020, turned out to be a sad day for the entire family. When Les's sister went to check on her father in the early hours of the morning, she found that Raymond had passed away in his sleep.
She called Les to give him the sad news of their father's demise. But the son revealed that he got a second call just minutes later that day from her sister and it wasn't good news but was emotional for everyone. Kathleen was so devastated by her husband's loss, she followed him to be together even after death. "I'm not gonna let him go alone," were her last words before she crawled into bed and lay down beside him.
"...Within a matter of minutes, my sister called back and said my mom had crawled in the bed with him and was overcome with grief," said Les, talking about the second call. Within an hour, the kids lost both their parents but they were happy that their parents were still together. "They did not want to go alone. They had endured this life together. They had this strong faith, and they just refused to be apart. It's a fairy tale in every sense of the word," Les added.
The elderly couple's son wrote a heartfelt message on Facebook expressing his emotions on his parent's demise. "I feel like I’m in the middle of both a horror movie and a beautiful love story. My Dad who is 90 died today in his sleep. In less than an hour, my mother was so overcome with grief, died in his arms. 70 years together! They raised four children, ran a successful business with a high school education, and cared for so many in the community over the years," he penned.
Raymond and Kathleen are survived by four children, six grandchildren, and seventeen great-grandchildren who will remember them and their love forever. Their obituary on the Hamner-McMillian Funeral Home and Cremation Service website said that their funeral was to be held on August 8, 2020, and they are reportedly buried beside each other.