bouquet of flowers on a casket

Lonely Widower Sits near Wife’s Coffin for 5 Hours to Be Together for the Last Time

Grief is a club no one wants to join but eventually, everybody does. It’s hard to describe grief to those who had never lost someone. It’s basically a severe feeling of emptiness that used to be filled by that loved one. Grief is a hole of painful loneliness and regret. Words fail to depict it, but this photo tells it all. 

On January 31, 2018 photojournalist April Yurcevic Shepperd attended a funeral where she took a photo of a man sitting next to his wife’s casket. The man, Bobby Moore, had been married for almost 60 years, but now he was alone. Now, unfortunately, a widow.

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I saw a man, a broken man, standing vigil over his most prized possession,” Shepperd said in her post. “Here was love personified.”

True love still exists

The Facebook post titled “I Witnessed a Story of Love” went viral with thousands of likes and shares. Shepperd explained that she didn’t intend to post the photo and story online but the Moore family asked her to share this narrative so it could bring comfort to others. “They wanted the world to know that true love still exists,” said Shepperd. “And it does.[1]

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Lonely Widower Sits near Wife's Coffin
Image Credit: April Yurcevic Shepperd | Facebook

Read: A Part of You Will Be Forever Lost After Losing a Sibling

So she begins by explaining that she had witnessed true love that day. It was clear from the moment Bobby walked into the funeral parlor and to the casket of his wife.

Upon approaching and without pause, he leaned down and kissed her painted lips, his frail body trembling to keep upright.” Then he softly whispered, “I know you can’t hear me. But, I love you.” And the tears began to fall.

He was early to the funeral. Family visitation was to start in about another hour but he didn’t want to waste any moment. Almost 60 years together wasn’t enough; he needed to grasp at every last minute with her. So he pulled up a chair and sat next to her, holding her hands, as if this was a normal evening together.

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When family began to trickle in, he was still sitting there, holding her hand, stroking her hair,” Shepperd wrote. “‘She looks good, doesn’t she?’ he asked when his children approached. Everyone agreed. And they cried.”

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The grief was felt by everyone but it was on full display on Bobby.

Never had I seen a man so broken, robbed of his happiness by the curse of death. I wondered as I watched him, what would he do tomorrow and the day after that? Today was the easy part.” 

Shepperd went on to speculate what their home looked like, with reminders of her everywhere, asking how he could sleep without his best friend beside him. “Today, I witnessed a story of love,” she concluded. “And I shall witness it again tomorrow when the story finally ends, and the stage is empty, and the lights go dark.” [2]

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Grieving For a Spouse

The death of a spouse is one of the most stressful and devastating life events. Not only is a person losing someone they love, but they also lose someone they may depend on emotionally, socially, sexually, financially, and so on. Suddenly, all of the responsibilities and goals the couple shared are thrust upon one person. The situation is made even more complicated if the bereaved spouse also becomes a single parent, which can create even more emotional exhaustion. [3]

Of course, every death is different and every grieving process is different. There’s no real timeline or “wrong way to grieve” as long as it leads to eventual healing. It’s important to seek support, and stay physically healthy as much as possible. Often, therapy can be extremely beneficial throughout this journey, especially for those with continued feelings of guilt, difficulty functioning through day-to-day life, no desire to socialize, and suicidal ideation. Time does heal, or rather, time can give the opportunity to learn how to heal. The grieving process is painful and non-linear but it does lead to better days. [4]

Keep Reading: Watching Your Parent Die Is Absolute Hell

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Sources

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  1. “I Witnessed a Story of Love.Facebook. April Yurcevic Shepperd. January 31, 2018
  2. “Photo of man grieving, sitting next to wife’s casket goes viral.” Local 10. Keff Tavss. February 5, 2018
  3. Bereavement: Reactions, Consequences, and Care: CHAPTER 4 Reactions to Particular Types of Bereavement.” NCBI.
  4. “Tips for Coping With the Death of a Spouse.Very Well Mind. Sheri Stritof. March 24, 2020
Sarah Biren
Freelance Writer
Sarah is a baker, cook, author, and blogger living in Toronto. She believes that food is the best method of healing and a classic way of bringing people together. In her spare time, Sarah does yoga, reads cookbooks, writes stories, and finds ways to make any type of food in her blender.
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