A couple who had been married for 62 years were put in beds side by side by hospital staff, as heartbreakingly they knew it would be the final time they would get to see each other and say their final goodbyes to each other.
John Wilson, 92, was told in May that devastatingly, he had terminal cancer. To be treated and make his time as painless as possible, he was sent to Queen’s Hospital Burton where his wife Marjorie, 88, was also there and being treated for too.
Learning that Marjorie would soon be fine enough to be discharged to her nursing home, the staff realised that this could mean the couple would not be able to see each other and say their final goodbyes. Therefore, Sister Emma Barker arranged for Marjorie and John’s beds to be pushed together which meant they would get to say their last goodbyes.
For 10 minutes, the couple were able to hold hands and Emma even took a photo of the couple so that their family could see the bittersweet moment.
On June 15, John tragically passed away at his home.
Emma said: “I can’t even imagine what it’s like to be married to someone for more than 60 years and know that you’re never going to see them again.
“The picture had everyone crying when they saw it – it was very emotional and powerful. To hear how happy the family were after receiving this picture has really impacted us all and the letter that they sent was so lovely.
“The whole reason you become a nurse is to care for people and to have moments like this. To now know that Mr Wilson’s son will have not only this photo, but also the knowledge that his father saw his mother for a final time, will remain a significant memory for me.
“I like to treat all patients as if they were my family and I know that I would be extremely humbled knowing someone had done that for a relative of mine.”
Grateful to the hospital staff’s gesture, the couple’s son Kurt wrote a letter expressing his thanks for the final photo. He then praised the staff, as they had ensured his dad was able “to die how he wanted, peacefully and in my arms”.
He added: “A special thank you to Sister Emma, who had the foresight to take a photo of mum and dad together for the last time.
“Again, words are not enough to express my gratitude to you all.”