Harry and Anna Norman were not outwardly romantic during their 72 years of marriage but held hands on their last night together.
Anna Norman, 97, a strong, independent woman who never complained and was not considered seriously ill, died six hours after her husband Oct. 2, according to officials at Arlington Care Center nursing home here.
Harry Norman, 96, a World War II veteran who was battling pneumonia, died at 11:30 p.m. ET. His wife held his hand across their beds, which she requested be pushed together.
"She asked me to give his hand to her, and she slept like that," nurse's aide Misty Decker said.
Immediately after her husband died, Anna Norman seemed to be holding up pretty well.
"After she insisted her family go home, she was telling me memories about him, and she was fine and said she'd rest," Decker said. "She didn't appear upset. She talked about him and couldn't believe he had left."
But at about 4:30 a.m. Oct. 3, the call light came on for Anna Norman's room.
Anna Norman was responsive until a few minutes before she died about an hour later, Decker said.
"She didn't have to worry about him anymore, and he needed her up there more than we did," said Sheila Nixon, the couple's granddaughter who also is the nursing home's director of nursing.
The couple's daughter, Susan Bain, said her mother's sudden death was a shock, but looking back, maybe it shouldn't have been a surprise.