Elderly couple dies hours apart after 62 years of marriage
An elderly couple's sweet love story in Bakersfield, California is getting national attention.
Don and Maxine Simpson made the promise "till death do us part" when they were young, but the phrase gained new meaning this week when the two died just four hours apart. Instead of mourning, the Simpsons' family is choosing to celebrate their love.
"All Don wanted was to be with his beautiful wife. He adored my grandmother, loved her to the end of the Earth," KERO reports.
Don and Maxine were married just a few months after they met and were together 62 years.
Maxine had been battling cancer all this year and two weeks ago, Don broke his hip. But the couple's granddaughter, Melissa Sloan, found a way to keep the two together as their health deteriorated.
Sloan cleared out a spare bedroom and put two beds together so that the couple could speak and hold hands. Maxine was the first to pass away.
Melissa Sloan told KERO: "I walked them out with her body. Walked back in to check on grandpa and he quit breathing as soon as her body left the room. He left with her."
Elderly couples dying around the same time isn't unheard of, and it's usually celebrated as a sign of love.
According to WFOR, earlier this year, a couple that had been together for 45 years died just 10 minutes apart. The couple's son said, "You have to look at it in a romantic way. They did everything together."
And there's actually some research that says dying of a broken heart is a real thing.
According to NBC, scientists say the death of a spouse "can lead to a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline, which can cause the left side of the heart to suddenly balloon in size."
Recent studies in the Journal of Nursing Research and The New England Journal of Medicine found that the elderly are more likely to pass away shortly after their spouses, though not always as close together as the Simpsons.
Don and Maxine leave behind two sons and several grandchildren.