Anyone who’s been to a wedding knows the famous part of the wedding vows: “Till death do you part.” The words are meant to express the strength of the bond this couple shares now – they’re here for the long haul, come what may.
Unfortunately, these vows are often broken. But for some special couples, not even death can separate them.
Such was the case with Floyd and Violet Hartwig. The couple met when they were in high school. After graduating from high school, Floyd enlisted in the Navy, but when he was home on leave he reconnected with Violet and the rest, as they say, is history.
They married on August 16, 1947, moved to a ranch in Easton, California, and spent their lives working side by side and raising three wonderful children together.
“I think what we think most of them is how hardworking they were,” the couple’s daughter, Donna Scharton, recalled. “They worked side by side cutting cotton, feeding turkeys, supporting each other and supporting children. And you felt like they had a connection, and I think that connection came more and more, especially in the last months of their lives.
But time passes, and as Floyd and Violet get older, their health begins to decline. Violet suffered from dementia and her health kept deteriorating.
Even though Floyd had his own health issues, his concern was always for his wife. Donna recalls that Floyd was barely able to get up and walk more than a few feet without getting out of breath, but the only thing that mattered was his wife’s health and comfort.
Donna remembers taking them to the doctor one day and Floyd said, “I’m fine. I want her fixed.” As Violet’s health continued to decline, the family began discussing her palliative care. Then they got a call from the doctor that left them stunned.
Floyd had kidney failure. The doctor gave him only two weeks to live.
Since he had to go to the hospital, the family brought Violet there so that the couple could spend their last days together.
When they learned that Floyd’s time was approaching, the whole family – three children, four grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren – surrounded the couple. It was clear that Floyd was in severe pain and had little time left, so the family pulled the couple’s hospital beds closer together and joined hands.
Donna says her father fought until the very end because he didn’t want to leave his wife, but eventually his body gave in and he died at the age of 90. Just five hours later, Violet followed her husband. She was 89 years old.
As heartbroken that the family lost Floyd and Violet within hours of each other, they know that’s what the couple wanted. They had always told their children that it was their desire to die at home and together.
“We felt blessed because that’s what they wanted,” Donna said in tears. “It was meant to be, and that’s the only way it could end.”
After 67 years of marriage, Floyd and Violet had the sad but beautiful end they had always wanted.
“They never asked for anything,” Donna said. “All they wanted was their family, and it was amazing that they finally got it.”