1. A husband's eternal gift
Every Valentine's Day, John gave Sue a bouquet of flowers and a note that always said the same five words: "My love for you grows." He did this for all the 46 years they were married. Then, sadly, John died. And as Valentines Day rolled around, Sue knew not to expect anything. But when a bouquet arrived with a note from John, Sue, heartbroken and angry, called the florist to report the cruel trick. But the florist assured the widow it wasn't a mistake. "Before he passed away, your husband prepaid for many years and asked us to guarantee that you'd continue getting bouquets every Valentine's Day." When she hung up the phone, she read the attached card that said (grab your tissue): "My love for you is eternal."
2. The war-torn couple reunited after 60 years
They were the Romeo and Juliet of Soviet Russia — Boris, the strapping, young communist soldier, and Anna, the daughter of a man who defied Stalin. Despite their differences, the two fell in love. Their relationship blossomed when Boris was on leave from the front during World War II. They married hastily and spent three nights together before Boris was once again called back into service. While he was away, Anna and her family were purged by Stalin and shipped to a far-off village. When Boris returned, he frantically looked for her and wrote letters, but to no avail. Six decades later, Anna and Boris returned to their home village, coincidentally, on the same day. Anna was standing outside her former home as Boris exited a car. They looked at each other, and though the years had aged them, they recognized each other instantly. "I thought my eyes were playing games with me," Anna said. "I saw this familiar looking man approaching me, his eyes gazing at me. My heart jumped. I knew it was him. I was crying with joy." Boris ran as much as he could to Anna saying, "My darling, I've been waiting for your for so long. My wife, my life…"
3. The couple who died holding hands
Norma and Gordon Yeager were both in their 90s and had been married 72 years when they were hospitalized following a car accident. While in a shared room in intensive care, the couple laid side-by-side, though not really responsive, holding hands. Gordon passed away first, but, then, his family noticed his heart monitor still beeping. But it was Norma's heart beating through him. One hour later, Norma passed away, her hand still held in his.
4. True dedication
Taylor Morris always set out to conquer the most challenging tasks, which is one of the reasons the 23-year-old made it into the Navy's Special Operations division. Morris' focus? Explosives. He knew the ins and outs of bomb detection and removal. But in May 2012, during his first deployment to Afghanistan, Morris stepped on an IED and lost both of his legs, his left arm from the bicep down, and his right hand. His girlfriend, Danielle Kelly, remains by his side. A series of photographs capturing their new life together — a day at the beach, Kelly hoisting Morris onto her back, or an afternoon at the the Walter Reed medical facility working out together — showed the two nobly enduring the hardship together. The photos went viral, and the couple captured the hearts of Americans who responded with donations so they could build their dream home on a lake.
5. A pretend couple becomes the real deal
As two attractive young employees of the De Vere Dunston Hall hotel — a popular wedding venue in England — Amanda Semmence and Kieron Dudle were asked by the manager to model for the hotel's brochure. He called them a "perfect couple," and sure enough the pair looked the part, despite being total strangers, dressed as bride and groom and smiling for the camera at every blushing stage of a wedding. Onlookers even congratulated the happy couple. Indeed, there was a spark, and soon after becoming friends, Semmence and Kieron started dating. Three years later they got married at the same hotel that once hosted their first, fake nuptials.
6. A lifetime together
Jim and Moira met as 5-year-olds at school in Britain in 1929. They have been together pretty much ever since. Two years after that first encounter, Moira was sent to a nearby all-girls school — the first of only three separations they would have. They were reunited at age 11, when fate put them in the same class at a co-ed school. At the age of 14, the lovebirds began their life-long courtship. The Second World War took Jim hundreds of miles away from his love, but the pair wrote letters to each other through his two years of service. After the young soldier made it back home, the two were married in the summer of 1948. "We have all been rock-solid since the very first day, we always knew it was going to last," Jim said. "Every day has been lovely with Moira, I wouldn't change a thing."
7. The perfect wedding announcement
The New York Times weddings announcements can cause even the most sentimental of readers to gag on occasion. But the coverage of senior citizens Ada Laurie Bryant and Robert Mitchell Haire's wedding in Hockessin, Del., managed to charm the cynicism out of most journalists' copy. The article was endearing not only because it was dedicated to a couple in their twilight years, but also because it followed The Times' standard announcement procedure, including family history, education, jobs, and, oh yes, lines like this: "The bride, 97, is keeping her name." The couple, who met at a retirement community where, Bryant, a widow, became friends with Haire's wife. After Haire's wife died, the two survivors grew close. They went on regular lunches together, and Haire, who is about a decade younger, even wrote Bryant a sonnet. Eventually, he proposed, on Valentine's Day, no less. But Bryant refused. "I didn't think it was the thing to do because I don't have that many years ahead of me, but he said, 'That's all the more reason.'" Eventually, Bryant accepted. "I love him," she said, "So we're going to be married."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
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