Till Death Do Us Part: Couple Married for 62 Years Passed Away While Holding Hands


Young love is obviously beautiful, but it barely compares to the love stories of the elderly. We all want to experience true love for the ages. When we see real-life examples of life-long love filled with grace, kindness, and forgiveness, it’s hard not to feel that warm, fuzzy tug on your heartstrings. There’s something so pure and beautiful about two people refusing to give up on one another. In terms of inspirational, old love stories, however, few compare to the story of Tom and Delma Ledbetter. Their story puts even the most precious of fairy tales to shame. In May of 2017, Tom and Delma Ledbetter of Lake Jackson, Texas passed away while holding hands in hospice care. (1, 2)

Texas Couple and Their Real Life Love Story

Not all of us are blessed to know our grandparents. The few of us that are might not be close with them, or perhaps didn’t have a chance to hear their love story. Sometimes, in order to find the true gems of life, we must be willing to look for them, even in the midst of sadness. The Ledbetter’s granddaughter, Stephanie, did precisely this. She snapped a photo of her grandmother and grandfather as their hands clasped together during their final hours. Both precious and heartbreaking, the photo soon spread across the internet, gaining loving and heartfelt attention. (1, 2)

Perhaps the most heartwarming part of Stephanie’s photo is that it wasn’t a work of fiction. One of Tom and Delma’s daughters admitted that the two first got together through a mutual friend. It wasn’t any more than three weeks later that they were married, and well on their way to happily ever after. They were best friends and lovers, married for 62 years, and remained entirely inseparable through the entire experience. It was a love story most only dream of. So much so that few of us have ever witnessed such long-term loving devotion with our own eyes. (1, 2)

Texas Couple Holds Hands In Hospice

However, unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. After 62 years of marriage, Delma’s health slowly began failing. She was soon admitted into a nursing home in order to receive the best care possible. Only a few days after her move, her husband, Tom, fell ill as well. According to one of the couple’s daughters, Doneeta, “We got him over to the nursing home with Mama. They had pushed their little beds together and Mama was laying right there, facing him. 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.” (1, 2)

On April 21 of 2017, the beloved old couple held hands across the gap in their beds. They both passed away, still holding hands, only ninety minutes apart. While heartbreaking, everyone relished in the purity of their relationship. “It was exactly how they wanted to go,” one of their children explained. “It couldn’t have been any better.” Tom and Delma were appropriately laid to rest in peace, side by side. (1, 2)

Finding Lasting Love

Many of us want to know the secret to a long and healthy love life. We watch movies and hear stories, constantly wondering what the trick is to gaining happiness and a best friend until death. But perhaps there is no trick at all. Perhaps the only requirement is a willingness to love and to hold, to cherish in sickness and in health, no matter the circumstances, obstacles, or consequences. Tom and Delma were a beautiful example of real, honest love.


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