Many years (and a few lifetimes) ago when we were all in good physical and mental health, my cousin Peach's husband used to joke with my mother (whom he adored) that she couldn't die until he did because he didn't want to live in a world without her. At that time we all laughed. Today the laughter stopped, as I received the news that Bob had died.
I don't know how old Bob was, but Peach would have been almost 80 and I believe they were the same age. I also don't now how he died, but he had been suffering early Alzheimers when I was in Iowa helping Peach get through chemotherapy and, inevitably, after she died, it continued to worsen.
As a matter of fact, it was Bob's Alzheimers that ultimately killed Peach. Her first week of chemo was so hard on her physically that she thought long and hard about whether she wanted to continue She was in remission and though the doctor told her that without the chemo it would probably return, she realized that if she was going to be so sick throughout, she could not properly take care of Bob, so she decided to chance it hoping to get a few more years before the cancer returned. Sadly it returned a year later, attacked her brain, and killed her.
She and Bob had been so close all their lives that I wondered if he would survive her death, but I suspect that his Alzheimers softened the blow of losing his beloved wife. He had a stroke a few years before and it had been her love and determination that kept him alive, despite doctor prediction.
Bob was, without a doubt, the sweetest man in the world.
Here he is with his dog Tessie (they got matching puppies, Sophie and Tess). How that dog loved him!
He was the kind of guy who would do anything to help anyone, give you the shirt off his back if he thought you needed it. He was the guy who organized our family reunions for many years and did most of the work setting things up and taking things down (a job later taken ver by some of the 2nd generation cousins).
In truth, he sometimes drove me crazy. They had a house with a step down from the front door to the living room. I stepped down hundreds of times but every time that I came into the house, he reminded me to step down. My challenge, to myself, was to get into the living room before Bob had a chance to remind me to step down.
I was there at the beginning, watching the romance develop when I spent summers with Peach I remember when we would spend the afternoon together and as soon as she got home, Peach would head for the telephone to call Bob. I can still hear her mother say "Peachie, you leave that boy alone!"
I remember when he bought her a hope chest and how excited she was.
I was maid of honor in their wedding and then godmother to their son Mike.
This was from their 50th anniversary party.
I don't know that I've ever seen two people more in love and though I am sad at Bob's death, a part of me hopes that they have found each other in the after life.