The couple first met as children while growing up down the block from each other in Port Reading, N.J., reports the Asbury Park Press. Throughout their 67 years of marriage, the pair were nearly inseparable till the end, passing away just 32 hours apart.
Olympia, 95, died of pneumonia on Feb. 2, in an Edison, N.J., hospital. Family members were devastated by the loss, but chose not to share Olympia’s death with her husband.
Michael had health issues of his own. The 94-year-old had spent the past four years vigorously battling colon cancer. The man’s family feared the tragic news about Olympia would crush Michael’s will to live. After spending a lifetime together, it appears Olympia and Michael had their own plans.
“I think she was dying of a broken heart, but I also think she wanted to pass first so he wouldn t have to enter heaven without her there to welcome him,” the couple’s granddaughter, AnnMarie McDonald, 29, told the Asbury Park Press. “And when my grandmother made up her mind to do something, she did it. She did this as a testament to their love.”
Childhood sweethearts, the couple married shortly after World War II. Over their six-plus decades as man and wife, they had two children, and later, a granddaughter.
Michael, who had always been determined to fight for the life he had built with his wife, awoke from his hospital bed in New Brunswick, N.J., shortly after Olympia’s death, asking about her. He told his family that he had dreamed of his death and started to ask about Olympia’s health.
“I think instinctually he knew she had died,” McDonald told NJ.com.
The family continued to keep Olympia’s passing from Michael, but the well-meaning secrecy couldn’t separate them. Thirty-two hours after his wife died, Michael joined her.
Despite grieving a double loss, Michael and Olympia’s surviving relatives have found some peace in knowing that the dedicated couple were not apart for long.
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