A couple who were married 59 years died last month holding hands in their shared hospital room.
Don and Margaret Livengood, ages 84 and 80, charmed the workers at Carolinas Healthcare NorthEast, so someone pulled strings to let the ailing husband and wife share their last days together in the same room.
Nurses positioned the couple’s beds to face each other, so that they were holding hands as Margaret passed just before 8am on August 19.
Margaret and Don Livengood, 80 and 84, died just hours apart on August 19. Doctors pulled strings so that the ailing husband and wife could be in the same room in their last days
The couple were holding hands when Margaret died just before 8am. Her husband died a few hours later, at 5.19pm
That afternoon at 5.19pm, her husband followed her in death, telling his children and grandchildren before he died that he was looking forward to joining his wife in heaven.
‘When we get to heaven, we can walk in together, just like we’re getting married again. Another honeymoon,’ Don said, according to his daughter Pattie Livengood Beaver.
Beaver and her husband moved in with her parents last year, when both became sick. Her father had pulmonary fibrosis and bilateral pneumonia when he died, while her mother was diagnosed with cancer in May and had several other serious health issues.
The couple both grew up in Rowan County, North Carolina and met while working at the same company. They were married on Margaret’s birthday on June 15, 1957
Don could barely breathe at the end of his life, but his wife assured him that the air would be better in heaven.
The couple spent the better part of last year in and out of the hospital, and their daughter says that whenever one was left behind at home they were sad.
When Don was hospitalized, his wife would sit with him each day from 4am to 8pm or 9pm.
Beaver says she drove her parents to the hospital to be admitted together on August 8, not knowing it would be the last time.
Family members believe the couple held out so that their grandson Brandon, his wife Jerrica and their two children could make it for one last visit. The family is stationed in Italy and nearly missed a connection from Detroit to Charlotte, but were allowed to go through the pilot’s security line and made the flight. They arrived at the hospital just 12 hours before Margaret died.
Don and Margaret both grew up in Rowan County, North Carolina, and met while working at the Stanback Company, which makes headache powders and chapstick.
Don joined the company after a stint in the Navy, while Margaret was hired as a secretary.
‘According to Daddy, he saw this pretty new little secretary, and he told the other guys, “I’m going to date her,”‘ Beaver said.
The aunt who raised Margaret didn’t make that easy. The couple’s first dates had to take place in church and Don had to join the church before the two could get married.
But that was no trouble for the couple who instilled the same Christian devotion in their children.
The couple were married on Margaret’s birthday, June 15, in 1957.
Speaking about the picture of her parents holding hands in their final moments, Beaver said: ‘It was normal for them to be holding hands, their love was so precious. But it was the sweetest, most precious thing you can imagine to see them holding hands in the hospital.’
Even the doctors and nurses who cared for the couple were moved to tears, their son David Livengood said.
‘This is one of those cases I don’t think any of us is ever going to forget. Seeing these two people who had spent their lives together, together in the same room as they took their last breaths, none of us are ever going to forget this,’ Dr Randy Schlister said.
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