Break out the tissues, you’ll need them for this one. This is a sad, but touching story of when true love comes to an end. An elderly couple from New Zealand, who were married for 67 years, died peacefully in their sleep this week – just two hours apart.
Joan Nees, 92, and Hugh Nees, 94, had been in declining health the past few months; Hugh was battling cancer and Joan had recently suffered a stroke. The pair, who were said to be seldom apart in all their years together, were surrounded by their family and friends this week when Hugh passed away first around 10 in the morning on Tuesday with his wife passing just a little over two hours later.
“They said they wanted to die together, and I didn’t expect it to really happen. It was just perfect for them,” their daughter, Joy Reid said.
She said each would have felt bereft if they had known the other had gone. “Especially at that time of life – when your spouse goes, it leaves an enormous hole.” She added that the timing of their passing was “a miracle.” We can barely type this because our tears are going all over the keyboard.
The couple met in the 1940s and have been together ever since. Hugh worked as a minister and Joan was also heavily involved in the church. They enjoyed gardening, golf and staying close with their children and grandchildren.
“Their departure, it’s sad but happy,” their son, Robert Nees added. “Life wasn’t easy for the last little while and that’s over, [so] that’s all good.” The couple had been through some tough times in all their years together. On top of suffering the death of two of their children, they also lost their 31-year-old grandson, and Hugh lost his mother in a car accident when he was very young.
Their son said it seemed like their close departure was meant to be. “It’s so hard to know – it almost seems like it, doesn’t it?” he said.
The couple are survived by a very large family; five children, 14 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren, and a service is to be held for them next week.
Even though it’s sad to hear that they passed away, the fact that they were never long apart in life or otherwise makes us very happy.