Elderly New York couple die hours apart holding hands after 60-year vow that he’d never leave her

Edward Hale and his wife Floreen Hale comfort each other after being reunited at United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia, New York on February 6, 2014.

Courtesy of Kyle Hirsh

Edward Hale and his wife Floreen Hale comfort each other after being  reunited at United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia, New York on Feb. 6.  Twenty minutes after Ed arrived, Floreen died.

He promised that he’d never leave her, even as he lay dying.

An 83-year-old man fulfilled his promise to his beloved wife of 60 years  when they died just hours apart while holding hands in an upstate New York  hospital earlier this month.

Floreen Hale, 82, and husband Ed Hale, of Batavia, died 36 hours apart in a  one-of-a-kind love story that nearly ended with a broken promise when they were  hospitalized miles apart on their deathbeds.

“He said, ‘no, I promise to take care of her for the rest of my life and if  I have to carry her forever, I will,” the couple’s daughter Renee Hirsh told the  Daily News of his vow. “He stayed committed to that to his last dying  breath.”

It was 1952 that the couple first locked eyes at a county dance, a moment  that they’d describe to their children as love at first sight, reported the Orleans Hub.

The couple's death fulfilled a 60-year promise by Edward Hale that he would never leave her alone. That vow was nearly broken when they were hospitalized miles apart the same week.

Courtesy of Renee Hirsh

The couple’s death fulfilled a  60-year promise by Edward Hale that he would never leave her alone. That vow was  nearly broken when they were hospitalized miles apart the same week.

Floreen was celebrating with her friends for the first time since surviving  a head-on collision while driving with her then-husband of six months, who was  tragically killed.

Doctors erroneously told her she’d never walk again and would need someone  always there caring for her.

So when Ed Hale went to get permission from Floreen’s parents to marry her,  “They said ‘absolutely not,'” said Hirsh. “‘She’s going to need someone to take  care of her for the rest of her life.'”

Ed promised to be that man. Before he left their home, they accepted his  proposal.

It was 1952 that the Batavia couple first locked eyes at a county dance, a moment that they'd describe to their children as love at first sight.

Courtesy of Kyle Hirsh

It was 1952 that the Batavia couple  first locked eyes at a county dance, a moment that they’d describe to their  children as love at first sight.

Their life was from then on a fairy tale romance in which they were never  apart. Ed would be called a “saint” by friends and family who knew of the  constant doting he did on his wife.

That all nearly changed on Jan. 31, however, when he was hospitalized for a  leg injury that within days had grown gravely worse. Come the following Monday,  he was moved to a Rochester hospital where doctors expected him to die.

There he asked to see his wife, not knowing that on Tuesday Floreen had been  hospitalized in Batavia for congestive heart failure. After deteriorating  health, she too was only given hours to live.

“(Ed) said, ‘I need to see your mother, I need to talk to your mother,'”  Hirsh said. “He probably realized ‘I’m dying, I’m here. I need to see her.'”

“It was the worst day of my life,” Hirsh acutely summed it up.

They married on May 12, 1953 at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Albion. Hale's request to marry Floreen was first shot down by her parents. After he promised to take care of her forever, they approved.

Courtesy of Kyle Hirsh

They married on May 12, 1953 at St.  Joseph’s Catholic Church in Albion. Hale’s request to marry Floreen was first  shot down by her parents. After he promised to take care of her forever, they  approved.

Meanwhile, nurses at her father’s hospital were calling her, begging her to  come to his side, saying, “He’s asking for his family.”

That’s when hospice got involved and pulled off a truly incredible act that  depended on Ed, a man lying on his deathbed, to suddenly improve. They suggested  transporting him to his wife’s bedside at United Methodist Medical Center.

Just before 5 a.m. Thursday they called Hirsh saying, “we’re going to do  everything we can to help this situation,” she recalled them saying.

By 11:30 a.m., Hirsh said her father’s condition was not stable, but he did  rebound. It was just enough of an improvement to give the go-ahead for an  ambulance to whisk him away.

In a truly remarkable story, hospice workers helped bring the dying couple together in their final hour.

Courtesy of Renee Hirsh

In a truly remarkable story, hospice  workers helped bring the dying couple together in their final hour.

At United Methodist, where two beds were put together in Floreen’s room, she  didn’t completely understand or at least believe what was going on.

“She thought that maybe he had already died,” said her daughter.

Then her loyal husband rolled into the room.

“(Floreen) just said, ‘Edward, don’t ever leave me again,'” Hirsh said.

Her father was in pain and barely breathing at this point, she  described.

Edward Hale, seen here with his wife Floreen Hale, was described as breathing just two breaths per minute before he died at her side. He refused to give up until he was certain that she was gone.

Renee Hirsh

Edward Hale, seen here with his wife  Floreen Hale, was described as breathing just two breaths per minute before he  died at her side. He refused to give up until he was certain that she was gone.

“He said, ‘How long do you have?'” Hirsh said.

“He said, ‘I just can’t do this anymore. I love you so much,'” said Hirsh  who stayed in the room.

“I said to my father, ‘Daddy, it’s OK you can go to heaven, mom’s here with  you,'” she said.

He refused. “He said, ‘No, not yet.’ He kept looking over at  her saying, ‘No.'”

The couple held hands between their beds, and within minutes, Floreen  died.

'My dad was a saint, my dad cared for her her entire life,' the couple's daughter, Renee Hirsh told the Daily News. 'He was a gentleman to the dying breath.'

Courtesy of Kyle Hirsh

‘My dad was a saint, my dad cared for  her her entire life,’ the couple’s daughter, Renee Hirsh told the Daily News.  ‘He was a gentleman to the dying breath.’

Hirsh said doctors and nurses had equally gathered to watch the couple whose  bodies were said to be in complete synch on the medical charts.

In addition to this astonishing anomaly, Ed was reported as breathing only  two breaths per minute. It was said to be just short of a medical record.

After a phone call from Hirsh’s son who was unable to make it from Hawaii,  and a visit from his last surviving sister, Ed died.

“My dad was a saint, my dad cared for her her entire life,” said Hirsh. “He  was a gentleman to the dying breath.”

A joint funeral was held for the couple that Thursday, on the eve of  Valentine’s Day, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Batavia.

After the service friends and family celebrated the couple’s lives at Albion’s Tillman Village Inn, where they held their wedding reception in May  1953.

“It’s an amazing love story,” said Hirsh of a story whose full magnitude she  didn’t realize until it was over. “We’re kind of feeling very privileged that  it’s touched so many hearts.”

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/elderly-couple-die-hours-holding-hands-60-year-vow-article-1.1622014#ixzz2tvq1hhxo

A beautiful love story.

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