After 59 years of marriage, Margaret and Don Livengood spent their final few days together, side-by-side in a single hospital room, holding hands. When the end finally came, Don and Margaret passed away within a few short hours of one other.
The bittersweet ending came as no surprise to friends and family of the couple. Their daughter, Pattie Beaver, explains that throughout their lives the couple was inseparable and it was “normal to see them holding hands.”
Pattie Beaver remembers clearly how special the two were to each other. “Mommy and Daddy fell in love with each other – over and over- for over 59 years. And still God renewed them each day, and it never got old.”
She recounts how, upon laying eyes on Margaret for the first time, her father told his buddies that, “he planned to date that pretty young lady, and that [it’d] become his priority.”
Their Secret to Success
Throughout their lives, Beaver remembers how her parents kept themselves busy as they created “an everlasting friendship, raised a family, and built a beautiful marriage.”
When they both developed life-threatening conditions, Don and Margaret were hospitalized and placed on different floors. For anyone who knew them, it was clear this separation was unbearable.
Dr. Randy Schisler, the physician who treated the couple, remembers that “as soon as they moved farther apart, you could tell the toll it took.” Apparently, the experience was especially hard on Don. “It was easy to see the anxiety and how nervous he felt, always wondering what was going on with his wife,” Schisler explained.
Fortunately, he wasn’t the only one to notice. The entire hospital staff recognized that the two belonged together. Although putting Don and Margaret in the same room would break hospital protocol, the nurses and doctors pulled some strings and eventually made it happen. In the words of Hospital Chaplain Beth Jackson-Jordan, “the need for them to be together overrode any of the other normal concerns”.
An Example to Live By
In our current age of dating apps and hookup sites, the depth and sincerity of the connection between Margaret and Don Livengood seems like an aberration. While divorce rates have dropped significantly in recent years, the storybook marriage that they shared still appears a distant fantasy to many.
In that sense, Margaret and Don have provided an example to couples everywhere.
As part of their wedding vows, they promised each other “a lifetime of love and devotion”. For 59 years, they delivered on that commitment to love and cherish one another. This connection remained unbroken even in the face of death.
A Fitting End
A friend of the couple explained how Margaret stayed beside Don “even when she wasn’t able to communicate… I remember him holding her hand and everybody in the room could feel and see the connection. It was very touching to know they had journeyed their entire lives – and as it came to the end of their lives, they were able to be together.”
Don slipped away first, with Margaret following only a few hours behind. Perhaps he left a little earlier to make good on a promise uttered just moments before he died. Lying on the hospital bed, fingers entwined with hers, Don told Margaret: “When we get to heaven, we can walk in together, just like we’re getting married again. Another honeymoon.”