Together Till The End-A Real Love Story
Updated: Friday, February 21 2014, 11:23 AM CST
For six decades, Floreen and Ed Hale have been inseparable, and even death could not keep them apart.
On February 7, Mrs Hale, 82, passed away in a Batavia, New York, hospital, with her gravely ill husband lying next to her and holding her hand until the very end.
Just 36 hours later, Ed Hale died at age 83.
'He was a gentleman right up to the end, waiting for her to go first,' the Hales' daughter Renee Hirsh said.
A month ago, a wheelchair-bound Mr Hale was hospitalized in Rochester, New York, with kidney failure.
On February 4, his wife was rushed to United Methodist Medical Center in Batavia 35 miles away suffering from congestive heart failure, among other ailments.The 83-year-old man was initially too weak to be transported by ambulance to be with his dying wife, but at the request of the family, the two hospitals worked together to reunite the spouses in their last days.
Floreen and Ed's love story began more than 60 years ago when the two met at a party.
When the young engineer went to Floreen's parents to ask for her hand in marriage, they refused because the young woman was recovering at the time from a horrific car accident, which claimed the life of her first husband, whom she had married only three months earlier.Gentleman's promise: When Ed Hale came to Floreen's parents to ask her hand in marriage, he was told 'no' because the young woman was recovering from a horrific car accident, but the suitor changed his future in-laws' mind when he promised to care for her his entire life
But Ed was determined to be with Floreen and would not take 'no' for an answer, declaring to his future in-laws that he was willing to carry his beloved in his arms every day.
The couple said 'I do'' May 12, 1953, and settled in Batavia, New York, in a home designed by Mr Hale. The Hales had two surviving children, Renee and Ricky. A third baby died in infancy.
Ed's greatest joy in life was pampering his wife and spoiling her with little tokens of affection.
At a time when she worked as a telephone operator at a local hospital, Ed would bring Floreen her dinner and dessert.
Ed did most of the grocery shopping for the house, and every time he went to the store, he picked up some sweet treat or flowers for Floreen.
In the winter, Ed would clear his wife's car of snow and warm it up for her drive home from work, earning him the nickname 'Saint Edward' from their relatives.
When Floreen's family and friends would tease her about her adoring husband, asking her what she would do without him, Floreen would reply that he was not allowed to go before her.
After an active, full life, Mr Hale was diagnosed with kidney disease a little over five years ago requiring dialysis regular treatments. He also suffered several heart attacks and had diabetes, but that didn't stop him from taking his wife out almost every day.Lifetime of happiness: This summer, the Hales celebrated 60 years of marriage - a time spent raising their two children, doting on their three grand-kids and one another
Mrs Hale, known for her irrepressible sense of humor, chattiness and a penchant for colorful hair adornments, also had a laundry list of ailments, from asthma to heart disease.
Still, she would dress up to go to the doctor, with Ed always by her side.
Floreen's precarious health took a turn for the worse earlier this month when her lungs filled with fluid, landing her in a hospital in grave condition.
At the same time, her husband was in Unity Hospital in Rochester with kidney failure.
'We were handed two death sentences,' Floreen's sister, Marlene DeCarlo, told the blog.
The 83-year-old man was semi-conscious and appeared to be at death’s door, but two days after his wife's hospitalization, Ed woke up and told his daughter: 'I need to see Floreen.'
What followed next was a series of negotiations between the hospitals in Rochester and Batavia, helped along by a social worker whose job it was to convince United to admit Mr Hale.
The Batavia hospital agreed to accept the dying patient, but only if he was strong enough to make the 35-mile trip.Storybook love: As he lay dying from kidney failure in a hospital 35 miles away from his wife, Ed Hale asked to be taken to Floreen so he could be with her in their last moments together
As if by miracle, Ed rallied sufficiently for the short ambulance ride, arriving at United in the afternoon on February 6. His sole request was to see Floreen
The hospital prepared a room for the couple, where two beds were pushed together so they could lie next to one another and hold hands as Floreen faded away.
The 82-year-old woman was pronounced dead the morning after Ed’s arrival, surrounded by dozens of friends and family. Her husband followed her a day later.
‘I think it would have been more heartbreaking to see one without the other, to see one surviving when the other was not around anymore,’ said Lisa Giattino, the Hales’ niece. ‘I think it was so beautiful the way it happened.’
The couple had a joint funeral last Thursday - the eve of Valentine’s Day - at St Mary's Catholic Church in Batavia, where friends, family and medical staff gathered to celebrate Floreen and Ed's truly undying love.