Eternal Love: 'Til Death Do Us Part?
How far would you go for love? Marriage vows often include the phrase, "Until death do us part," but what if the surviving partner isn't ready to be parted from the dead one?
What if, instead, the husband preserves his wife's body and keeps her in a mausoleum so that he can visit her every day? What if he keeps her in his living room? Or what if the wife decides that she cannot bear to bury her husband and merely keeps him in her apartment, knowing that she, too, will soon die of old age.
It's rare, but there are several stories of people preserving their loved ones -- above ground -- so as not to lose them. These people then regularly visit, if not consistently live with, the bodies of their beloved lost spouses. Often, this situation will consume their lives.
What drives this urge? Who is doing this, and what lengths are they going to? Is it even true? Let's take a closer look at this taboo extent of love.
The question when hearing these stories is obviously, "Why?"
Obviously we do not want to deal with death, do not want to lose a loved one. It is painful to suddenly have a hole gored in our lives, especially when it is a spouse's death. After all, hypothetically we marry because we want to grow old with that person and share our lives. A spouse is the only family we choose to have (besides the occasional pet), so I cannot imagine the pain of losing that person.
Everyone grieves differently: Some draw into themselves, some lash out, and some seek solace in the comfort of friends and family.
And some, apparently, choose never to let go.
Man Lives with Dead Wife
I first saw this story on Ripley's Believe It or Not. This man's wife died on pneumonia thirteen years ago, but he still spends every day with her. Sometimes he even spends the night next to her. How? He has preserved her body in a mausoleum in his backyard.
The video is heartbreaking. This old man clearly loved his wife so much. It makes you wonder why such a treasured relationship has to have one of the members taken from it when there are so many failed marriages out there.
"Time heals everything," he says that people tell him. But he insists that it doesn't.
Man Dies Next to Months-Dead Wife
A Tokyo man's body finally gives out on him. This is not the stuff of newspaper headlines. But what about when his wife's body is found, as well, and then identified as having been dead for months?
Police found him collapsed in his apartment hallway, but his wife was found laying propped up on the couch. Police suspect no foul play in either of the deaths.
To me, it appears that, at 77 years old, this man knew that his time was coming and could not bear to be without his wife during the last of his days. Creepy? Maybe, when you think about the logistics of it. But the story is touching to me in the face of all the failed relationships we see in the news and in our daily lives.
Woman Keeps Husband's Body
An elderly, quiet, well-liked Brooklyn woman calls the police to report the death of her husband. The newsworthy thing? The police arrived at her house to discover her husband's skeletal remains, whereupon a forensic specialist declared that he had been dead for at least three years.
Charges were not filed on the woman because foul play was not suspected.
She was 77 years old at the time, and perhaps she felt the same as the Tokyo man but was not lucky enough to follow her husband in so short a time, and after three years she felt that his body was too much of a burden.
Wife in a Glass Coffee Table
According to Snopes' analysis, this one must be a hoax, mostly because of the illegality of having a dead body in your living room.
It is supposedly a story in an email circling since 2000 about a young American man (about 32 years old) who entombed his dead wife in a special glass coffin and then used her as a coffee table. Apparently she had a sense of humor, and he thought that she would enjoy being his coffee table for all eternity. The email states that he lost some friends over this incident but that his "true friends" saw beyond it.
If it isn't true, then it makes for a great story. But while this may seem "out there," it certainly is not much different than other similar but very real stories about the post-mortem preservation of a loved one.
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What Do You Think?
So what do you think? Is this love? Is it healthy love? Or is it obsession? Are they sick? Can we judge these people, or should we admire them for their commitment?
I'd love to hear any and all opinions or maybe you've seen a story like this somewhere that you'd like to share.
Weigh in and leave a comment!