One married couple shared the type of love we only see in movies, and when they said their vows, they meant it. Perhaps, "Till Death Do Us Part" was a promise they struggled with as they physically battled to let go of one another.
Love can spark between two soulmates in what may seem to be the most random of ways. For Lake Jackson, Texas, couple Tom and Delma Ledbetter, it started with holding hands.
They were both in their 20s when they met. Tom needed to move his vehicle; when he finally parked, he reached over, grabbed Delma's hand, and kissed her cheek. Less than a month later, the two tied the knot.
[Left] Tom and Delma Ledbetter when they were younger; [Right] An elderly Tom and Delma Ledbetter lying in hospital together while holding hands.┃Source: youtube.com/KPRC 2 Click2Houston
LIVING LIFE TO THE FULLEST
Sixty-two years of marriage passed as the two created a wonderful life together. It was full of children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren!
Eventually, having built a family over the decades, and with Tom retiring, the pair chose to explore, traveling around America.
Tom and Delma Ledbetter when they were younger.┃Source: youtube.com/KPRC 2 Click2Houston
Sadly, their adventure ended when Delma fell sick in April 2017. At this time, they were both in their 80s. The pair's daughter Donetta remembered:
"They couldn't get a pulse. They couldn't get a blood pressure. They couldn't get anything. Yet mama was just hanging on to something. [sic]"
It was devastating for everyone in the family to see their loved one in pain. But they had no idea that they would soon witness the most romantic yet bittersweet moment of their lives.
Tom and Delma Ledbetter with their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.┃Source: youtube.com/KPRC 2 Click2Houston
I'LL FOLLOW YOU INTO THE DARK
Strangely, only days later, Tom also needed to be taken to hospital after he became sick. They put their beds side by side as Donetta said:
"She was asleep, and Daddy goes and he reached over there, and he grabbed ahold of her hand, and he just laid there with her, and it was so sweet."
Soon after, the pair passed away 90 minutes apart. The soulmates began their life together with their hands clasped. Now, once again, hand in hand, they walked into an ending. Or perhaps even a new beginning.
Tom and Delma Ledbetter lying in hospital together while holding hands.┃Source: youtube.com/KPRC 2 Click2Houston
Tom and Delma Ledbetter represent the kind of love we can only dream of. Yet, if we refuse to let go, whether through clasping hands or not, if we endure despite the odds, we may find this fairytale story we dream about.
Tom and Delma Ledbetter holding hands.┃Source: youtube.com/KPRC 2 Click2Houston
It is a harrowing experience for anyone to lose their lifelong partner, like Tom, even if only for a few days.
One widower, Jack Rice, also faced the deep grief of losing his wife. Reva Dean passed away on October 27, 2019.
But, Rice didn't have to grieve alone. He received letters from strangers all over the globe. This happened after Kayla Presley Maye visited him and his now-late wife through photography to capture their last few precious days together.
Sharing these photos online, she touched the hearts of many, who decided they would use their words to comfort the widower.
Death is a normal part of life. What comes along with it, almost strangely, is love. Love in the form of holding hands or facing the unknown together.
It can look like a worldwide community -- a group banding together to use their words as a support system for a man facing unimaginable loss.