Grab the tissues, because this tale of true love is about to unlock the faucets: After 69 years of marriage, Teresa Vatkin, 89, and Isaac Vatkin, 91, died less than 40 minutes apart, holding hands across their hospital beds.
The couple's three children, Daniel, Leo, and Clara, told the Chicago Sun-Times that their parents meant the world to each other and were seldom apart; even when Teresa starting showing signs of Alzheimer's, Isaac acted as her caretaker. It was only when he was no longer able to lift his wife that Isaac reluctantly agreed to move her into a care facility — and when he eventually began developing memory problems of his own, he was admitted to a facility close to hers.
Then, last weekend, Isaac came down with bad case of the flu and was admitted to Highland Park Hospital for care. Teresa came down with pneumonia shortly afterward and was admitted to the same hospital, where Daniel, Leo, and Clara convinced nurses to move their mom and dad into the same room.
So, on Friday afternoon, Isaac's and Teresa's hospital beds were placed side-by-side, and the couple held hands. They were still holding hands when Teresa passed away at 12:10 a.m. on Saturday — and the moment that her bed was rolled out of the room and their hands parted at around 12:50 a.m., Isaac also stopped breathing, as well.
Skokie couple, married 69 years, die minutes apart, "so he could go to heaven and open the door for her," son says. https://t.co/EnUi0OMOU6 pic.twitter.com/ehtZ0sKPEO— Chicago Sun-Times (@Suntimes) April 25, 2017
Teresa and Isaac's children believe their parents' simultaneous passings are more than just coincidence — to them, it's a sign that the couple really was meant to be together in everything.
"The moment he felt we removed her hand from his, he was able to say 'OK, I'm done protecting her. I can go and rest, as well,'" Daniel said to the Sun-Times. "The ultimate in chivalry — so he could go to heaven and open the door for her."
Despite the sadness of losing both parents, the siblings say it was special to have the whole family together up until the end.
"I'm sure they're already dancing above us," Leo added. "They're already dancing the tango."
[h/t Chicago Sun-Times]