A Peculiar Ending to a Decades-Long Love Story
Love is more than just a four-letter word - it is the light at the end of the tunnel, the silver lining in the fierce storms. Love is what gives a lot of persons in this world a reason to keep going and fight to live one more day. A couple had been lovingly married for more than seven decades, sharing life's little ups-and-downs. Yet life has put their love to test - with an unexpected outcome.
Leonard and Hazel
Leonard and Hazel were a loving couple, living through the majority of the 20th century, witnessing all the world events unfold upon them. People, friends... everything they knew came and go throughout these years - but then when Leonard got sick, it turned their world upside down. However, a lot of things happened before then.
Meeting Each Other
They lived a short drive away from each other, in Texas - but they weren't childhood sweethearts as fairy tales go. Before the internet age and the rise of social media, people were more distant - physically at least. But as fate would have it, they finally met each other when high school was right around the corner.
Both young and innocent, everything was afresh and love was as sweet as the summer berries, ripen from the tree branches. They soon found themselves in love with each other - whatever that might entail. Things took off slowly as per the traditions of the era, but the romance soon blossomed between the young lovebirds.
Amidst the chaos and tension at the time, Leonard and Hazel decided to say the solemn vow and tied the knot. The year was 1942, shortly after Pearl Habor. If the world should come crumbling down, why not then to have your loved ones by your side, sharing the last moment together? But perhaps it was different - it was a sense of hope, just knowing someone would be there beside you, no matter what happens.
Till the Blue Skies Drive the Dark Clouds Far Away
But as the war raged on, no one was spared from it. They knew the time would come, and that Leonard would serve the country one day, fighting for the freedom of their country. And the day came indeed when Leonard joined the Army Air Corps during WWII. Goodbye is too hard a word to say, but Leonard is a man of honor, and he understood his duty as an American.
Army Air Corps
Leonard spent quite a few years in the military, training as a bomber pilot in various bases. As the war raged on, men were fighting on the ground, giving their lives for their country; meanwhile, the bombers were there to provide air assistance, paving the way for the men on the ground. However, for Leonard, his role was a bit different as he was working as a flight instructor. It was only two years when the family received a piece of shocking news.
Leonard was informed that his wife was pregnant, and Hazel welcomed their baby boy David in 1944. They now officially stepped into the new stage of their life, turning to a new page, a new chapter of their little love story. It was also around the same time that they moved to Fort Worth, Texas, when Leonard was stationed there at the Carswell Army Air Corps Base there.
A New Beginning
The year was 1945, and the war was finally over. It appeared that now's finally the time for Leonard and Hazel to step into a new stage of their life. Millions of lives were lost in a span of those few years, and things were never the same again. But now that the war is over, the silver lining was finally there, a new hope was waiting for them.
"That's it," they decided. They are going to open an auto repair shop right there in Fort Worth, Texas. Thanks to the training he received in the military, he was especially handy with mechanical parts; and once a soldier, always a soldier - he is not afraid to get his hand dirty. The auto repair shop was called "Cherry-Hill," named after themselves, the Cherry family.
Little David would grow up watching his parents work - his father would be there fixing up the cars, while his mother talks to the customers and handle the administrative works. Years after years, as David gets older, the Bel Airs would be replaced by Impalas, and on a good day, he might even see a Studebaker. Time flies by quickly, and David turned from a boy to a man - just like his father did 20 years or so ago.
The year is now 1980 - Vietnam had come and go; Woodstock became a distant dream; cars now have sharper corners, screaming futurism wherever they roam. Everything changes, and it's hard to tell that decades have gone by when everything changes ever so slightly every year, only to look back and realize nothing's the same. David now has a family of his own, and Leonard and Hazel began to wonder what life has in store for them now.
They decided to sell their auto-repair shop and moved to Woodway, a quiet little town in Texas. A new place, a new beginning. But the main reason to relocate there is to get closer to David and their grandkids. Leonard and Hazel are now in their 60s - all things have been said and all stories have been told, and perhaps now it's time to live a quiet life and spend quality time with people they love and care about. Leonard taught at a Sunday School there, with Hazel by his side, lovingly and dearly, enjoying life's little moments while they lasted.
Things Fall Apart
Fast forward twenty years, it is now difficult to find a strain of hair that's black on Leonard's head - he and Hazel is now an old couple. But life has its little joy still - Leonard would go to every basketball game that his grandkid plays, as well as the practices. But then the news hit the family - Leonard showed signs of a mental disease.
Stand By Me
Leonard was once a young man, too - but that's something only Hazel knows these days. Hazel knew what she meant when she said those solemn vows all those years ago - through sickness and health, and she meant every word of it after all these years. With Leonard's health deteriorating day by day, they moved to an assisted living home in Waco a few years ago, where Hazel stayed in an independent living section of the facility. Leonard got the medical attention he needed, and they would see each other every day still, reminiscing the old days. Until one day...
The Time Has Come
“She started getting tired and weaker and on the day she passed, she couldn’t get out of bed and it was hard for her to wake up,” recalls David, on Hazel's condition. Though she was in healthy shape throughout those times, one day everything simply changes, and she soon passed away after that. There's a time for everything, and sometimes it's just difficult to tell. They needed to break the news to Leonard, but they weren't sure how...
Till Death Do Us Apart
The family didn't inform Leonard of Hazel's passing, afraid of how he'd react, especially with his already deteriorating health. However, Leonard’s caregiver said the ailing man, who had been restless all morning on that same day, simply took a deep breath and calmed down all of a sudden. It was as if he knew that already without hearing the news himself. Ten hours later, Leonard too passed away, at the age of 95. Maybe it was love, maybe it was God's will - but they both passed away on the same day, not consciously knowing each other's passing.
This is the story of Leonard and Hazel, a love story that spanned more than seven decades, ending on the very same day without knowing about each other's passing, as if fate already decided that for them. What do you think of this story? Do you think that perhaps there was a special connection between them?
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