Sharing the Last Journey: A Love Story

Categories: Care.

“We have talked, and we have prayed we will be able to leave this earth together.”

Irvin and his wife of 69 years, Cora, shared this decision with their daughter, Pat, several times during the last months of their lives.

Irvin and Cora’s love story began like many others. After meeting on a double date, they married on December 20, 1941 in Halstad, Minnesota. Together they raised two children, daughter Pat and son Jerry.

Pat remembers fondly how tight-knit and special her parents’ relationship was, filled with love for one another, and for others. “My Dad often said, ‘we’ve never known any strangers,’” recalls Pat with a smile. “Even at the age of 96, they were still adding new friends to their Christmas card list.”

Irvin and Cora remained remarkably independent into the late years of their lives, which Pat attributes to the support they provided one another. “My parents did everything together—through times of good health and declining health,” Pat says. “When one was not well, the other was able to provide the strength to keep them as independent as possible. “

Irvin’s first hospitalization was at 85 years old; while Cora’s first major health issue occurred at age 89. However, Cora and Irvin continued to live quite independently until the last two years of their lives, when more assistance became necessary. “Their caregivers often told me, ‘you never have a bad day when caring for Cora and Irvin,’” remembers Pat. “The love they shared and demonstrated was unbelievably strong—a relationship many people had never witnessed.”

In July 2010, Cora was hospitalized for a heart condition. Her physician was very direct, telling the family Cora’s condition was irreversible.

“While we somewhat expected to hear our 95-year old mother was in a fragile state, hearing she had two months to live was a shock,” recalls Pat. The physician recommended hospice care.

Cora began receiving care from Hospice of the Red River Valley. At the time, Cora and Irvin were living at a long-term care facility in West Fargo. The family was pleased to learn another move would not be necessary, and that Hospice provided care right where Cora and Irvin called home…

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 About Hospice of the Red River Valley
Hospice of the Red River Valley
is an independent, not-for-profit hospice serving all, or portions of, 29 counties in North Dakota and Minnesota.