When we get married, we’d like to believe our partner is our soulmate. In the case of Lauretta and James Burke, they were right. The couple met shortly after James returned from World War II and fell madly in love. From the moment James’ neighbor introduced them to each other, he knew she was destined to be his wife.
James’ intuition was correct – they spent more than 64 years together before James passed away. And now the last photo ever taken of the two of them is going melting hearts for all of the right reasons.
Even 64 years after saying “I do,” the love they shared clear for everyone to see…
The couple married all the way back in 1945 after Lauretta insisting she needed to graduate college before getting hitched. So, James made a compromise with her: they would marry within the week of her graduation date. The couple’s granddaughter, Colleen Muldoon, 23, told The Huffington Post that their love was something she always admired.
“They were in the deepest kind of love…She graduated college on a Tuesday and got married to him that Saturday.”
From their wedding day forward, James loved his wife with every fiber of his being. In fact, Colleen said that he used his daughters’ wedding days to share the importance of unwavering love.
“On each of his daughters’ wedding days, he [James Burke] would say the greatest thing you can do is to never stop loving your children’s mother.”
The two shared more than six happy decades and nine children together before Lauretta’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis changed the dynamic of their relationship. Colleen explained that her grandfather took the reigns when her grandmother simply couldn’t keep it together any longer.
“Once she started being forgetful, he’d step up and remember the birthdays and graduations. My grandma was the stubborn one in the beginning but at the end, her mind failed her, which was really hard to see.”
As Lauretta’s health declined, James remained strong. He was by her side faithfully until he had to undergo pacemaker implant heart surgery. Sadly, the surgery kept him in and out of the hospital for months and away from his beloved.
“He was basically living for her. They were like the same person after being together for so long, and he didn’t want to give up because she knew that he needed him there
Even during his darkest moments following the surgery, James made a point to alter his will so Lauretta got the best possible Alzheimer’s treatment. He wouldn’t tolerate Lauretta waiting out the remainder of her days in a dump or being forced into a care facility she didn’t enjoy.
Sadly, James passed away in November 2012 and Colleen told The Huffington Post that his dying words were nothing but positive.
“He said he was going home, and that he would see us all again.”
The final photo Colleen snapped of the two of them harkens back to their wedding day. You can see the love in their eyes and the fire in their souls. We agree Lauretta and James will soon be reunited in Heaven, and they’ll get to spend the rest of forever together.