This article was adopted from the Daily Mail
A poignant photo has emerged which shows an elderly couple who were married for 75 years fulfilling their final wishes to die together.
Jeanette Toczko, 96, and her 95-year-old husband, Alexander Toczko, from San Diego, California, died just hours apart as they held hands in bed.
The pair spent their lives in love after becoming boyfriend and girlfriend when they were only eight years old .
Dying wish: Jeanette Toczko, 96, and her 95-year-old husband, Alexander Toczko, from San Diego, California, who were married for 75 years have fulfilled their final wish to die in each other’s arms after they passed away clutching hands, within hours of each other, in their bed (pictured)
But several weeks ago, Mr Toczko suffered a broken hip in a fall and was left bed-bound. A local hospice delivered a special bed to his home, which staff pushed up next to his beloved wife’s bed.
As Mr Toczko’s condition quickly declined, Mrs Toczko’s own health took a turn for the worse. The couple had always said they wished to die ‘in their own bed, holding hands, in each other’s arms’.
And in scenes reminiscent of the 2004 film The Notebook, they passed away while clutching hands earlier this month: Mr Toczko on June 17, as he lay beside his wife; and Mrs Toczko, the next day.
The couple’s daughter, Aimee Toczko-Cushman, described the moment she told her mother she had lost her husband, who kept a photo of Mrs Toczko at her Holy Communion in his wallet.
‘I told my mother he was gone,’ she told 10 News. ‘She hugged him and she said, “See this is what you wanted. You died in my arms and I love you. I love you, wait for me, I’ll be there soon”.’
Mrs Toczko-Cushman, and the couple’s other children, Donna Tang, Richard Toczko, Lynne Edwards and Andra Toczko, then left the room, to allow their mother to say a private goodbye.
And less than 24 hours later, Mrs Toczko herself passed away.
Jeanette and Alexander Toczko (both pictured above), aged 96 and 95 respectively
‘Even the hospice nurse said it was the most incredible thing to see the two of them taking those last breaths together,’ Ms Toczko-Cushman said of her parents, both born in Stamford, Connecticut.
Mr and Mrs Toczko, who were the children of Polish immigrants, started dating as youngsters, before their innocent relationship flourished into love, marriage and five children of their own.
Several weeks ago, Mr Toczko (pictured with his wife during their 1940 wedding) suffered a broken hip in a fall and was left bed-bound. A local hospice delivered a special bed to his home, which staff pushed up next to his beloved wife’s bed. As Mr Toczko’s condition quickly declined, Mrs Toczko’s own health worsened
Following their wedding in 1940, Mr Toczko joined the U.S. Navy as a telegraph operator, according to ABC. He later moved to New York City with his family, where he worked for an advertising firm.
In 1971, the Toczkos moved to San Diego, where Mr Toczko established his own advertising and fashion photography firm, Blue Sky, U-T San Diego reported. Mrs Toczko was his chief stylist.
During their lengthy marriage, the couple also went traveling together, visiting Bermuda. ‘Their hearts beat as one from as long as I can remember,’ said Mrs Toczko-Cushman.
Before his recent fall, Mr Toczko, a passionate golfer, had been a regular at Balboa Golf Course. The war veteran had a keen interest in drawing, and often sat and sketched at the golf course.
Meanwhile, his wife doted on her 10 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
As the couple neared death, in early June, a confused Mrs Toczko reportedly told her children that the date was June 29 – the day she and Mr Toczko would have celebrated 75 years of marriage.
The couple’s children went along with it, telling their mother it was, indeed, the anniversary.
‘We said happy anniversary, and my mother was thrilled because it was their anniversary and she knew that he was going and that they had made it to 75 years,’ said Mrs Toczko-Cushman.
Mr and Mrs Toczko were buried at Miramar National Cemetery in San Diego on Monday.