This is an excerpt from a story that was printed in the Pioneer Press, Sunday July 19, 2015.
After more than 77 years of marriage, Maree was given a last chance to say farewell to her husband Pinky. Two sons and a daughter carried his body to her room and lay him next to her. Dad is gone, they told their mom. When Maree grasped the news, she spoke to the man she married in 1937: “Goodbye, sweetheart,” she said. “My sweetheart, goodbye.” Failing health kept them farther apart in recent months, although they continued to share their home of the past 75 years. Pinky 98, was bedridden for the past 6 months and Maree who will be 99 soon, lost her eyesight and much of her hearing and also is bedridden. They were in separate rooms for the past several months.
Maree was depressed after going blind several months ago, her son said, but at Pinky’s 98th birthday celebration this year, her daughter got their mother to sing again. One of her favorite songs is, “I Wish I Didn’t Love You So”. They had a deep abiding love.
It was the grace with which Pinky handled those last months that made his family proud. He exhibited strength and gratitude telling family and friends how much he loved them
In the moments after Pinky’s death, something the family describes as a miracle occurred. Pinky’s room suddenly and inexplicably, was filled with an overwhelming aroma of roses. The priest who officiated at Pinky’s funeral said the rose fragrance is deeply significant in the Eastern Orthodox faith. The aroma is considered symbolic of God’s presence. The same phenomenon occurred at the end of Pinky’s funeral as the casket was being carried out. Pinky’s son said he had never experienced anything like that. “It was such a gift to us,” he said, “about the presence of God. It brought so much peace. He had a good life and a beautiful death.”