Elderly Man Sits Alone Next to Casket, Says Goodbye to Wife of 59 Years


Grief and loss are everyday parts of our lives. In many ways, they are part of the furniture of being alive: we will grieve, we will suffer loss.

And yet so many of us find it hard to recognize or speak about the role of grief in our lives. When a loved one or partner passes away, the the hole they leave in our life is immeasurable.

“Move on” or “move past it,” people will say. These are impossible things, at best we can move through it. The loss will be part of the lens we carry with us, part of the view of how we see the world.

Bobby Moore knows what it is like to love in such a way that the grief that comes with a partner’s passing is overwhelming. Moore’s family requested that this experience be written up as a Facebook post.

Moore lost his wife, Jerry, his partner of almost 59 years. I cannot even imagine his grief. The picture below is Jerry.

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

“When he walked into the room,” it continued, “his steps were faulty, but his determination was undaunted. His eyes were fixed upon his destination at the front of the room. A steel grey casket sat under the colored lights.

“Half of its lid was propped open; the closed half held a spray of vivid, mix-matched flowers adorned with ribbons which read the words ‘wife’ and ‘mother.’ Upon approaching and without pause, he leaned down and kissed her painted lips, his frail body trembling to keep upright.”

Moore and his wife had spent 60 years together. By any measure, that is a lifetime of love, experiences, fights, laughter, good times and bad.

When family began to arrive, he was still sitting there, stroking her hair. “She looks good, doesn’t she?” he would ask.

He sat by her side for five hours until, exhausted and spent, he could sit no longer. In many ways the viewing, wake, or funeral is the easy part. Your loved one is still physically present and you have family and friends to support you.

But after that, you have to wake up and be brave every single day. I’ve watched my mother do it in the year since my father passed. Like many — maybe like Moore himself — she doesn’t see that even on the hard days she is being brave.

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April Yurcevic Shepperd took the photo of Moore sitting by the casket and it was she who wrote up the touching account of what she witnessed. With the family’s permission, she shared it hoping she can inspire others.

WAGA Fox 5 Atlanta, which first shared the story and video, mentioned that the story had been liked over 2,000 times on social media. From the post on her wall, it has seen 1.7K shares, nearly 2K views, and 124 comments as of Feb. 5 and the story was gaining interest in Australia.

I share the numbers to emphasize the power of grief in our lives. We are all touched by this man’s love as we recognize it and his grief, and they are in some way bound up with ours. What he feels, we will feel or have felt.

To all those grieving I wish healed hearts. I pray that those you love will never be far from your thoughts and that the love you shared will continue to inspire you.

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