News Lindsay Guinaugh | one year ago

Elderly Couple Died the Way They Lived: Together

Just two months after celebrating their 59th wedding anniversary, Don and Margaret Livengood passed away, just hours apart, and holding hands.

Don and Margaret were both hospitalized on August 8, and by the 10th, Don was transferred to the ICU. The couple was inseparable the last 59 years; their daughter Pattie Beaver says her parents didn’t know how to be apart. “Things that were important to him were important to her, and vice versa,” adds Beaver. “They were devastated when one wasn’t with the other.” The pain of separation was enough that when Don was moved to the ICU, Margaret said “I want to go see him, I want to go too.” To help ease her distress, nurses moved Margaret’s bed into Don’s room, positioned her next to him, where she could face her life partner, close enough that the loving couple could even hold hands. The couple and their family were supported by a number of chaplains and medical staff at Carolinas HealthCare System NorthEast. “Theirs is a beautiful story of love, commitment, and a lifetime of caring for others in their community and beyond,” says Denise Hopper, chaplain with Carolinas HealthCare System NorthEast. “It really was a team effort for our department, as well as all the other caregivers, who surrounded and cared for them.” Beaver credits the staff at NorthEast for lessening the pain of an already-difficult time – losing both parents within a matter of hours. She still smiles thinking of her parents and their final moments together. But it is also a memory that brings tears to her eyes. “To know someone who is near end-of-life can be with their life partner and not face that by themselves, it was the most amazing gift the hospital could ever give us,” she says. “I will be eternally grateful.” Margaret Livengood died a little before 8 a.m. on August 15. Don Livengood passed away that same day, just after 5 p.m.