Some say that true love only exists in fairy tales. The family of Isaac and Teresa Vatkin of Skokie, Illinois would have to disagree. The couple was married for 69 years when they passed away minutes apart from each other.
Almost 10 years ago, Teresa began having memory problems. Isaac took care of her; making sure she ate well, helping her bathe, and washing her clothes for her until he could no longer care for her on his own. Isaac learned how to use a computer while in his 80s, so he could research Alzheimer’s Disease, hoping for a breakthrough and a possible cure. Even when he finally agreed to move Teresa to a specialized facility, he visited her every single day. He was her protector, and he would take care of her.
The couple’s love story is like one out of a storybook. Isaac and Teresa met in Argentina, where they both lived. However, because they lived so far apart, the couple wrote letters to each other, and their relationship bloomed. The couple married in 1947 and moved to Chicago in 1968. They had three children, and Isaac started a business as a kosher meat distributor.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the couple’s children had nothing but good things to say about their parents. Leo Vatkin, one of the couple’s two sons, spoke about how his father always took care of the whole family, putting the children through college, while staying humble and honest. He also mentioned how Teresa would wait for the children when they got off the school bus because she thought “somebody should be there for them.”
“I learned what it is to be a husband,” said the couple’s other son, Daniel Vatkin, about Isaac. “Not once ever was there a disagreement in front of the kids.”
The couple was admitted to Highland Park Hospital last week, within days of each other; Isaac for influenza and Teresa shortly after with pneumonia. Hospital staff moved the couple into the same room, placing their beds side-by-side, after both of them had become unresponsive, and their breathing had become shallow. Daniel took Isaac’s hand and placed it onto Teresa’s hand.
“We weren’t really just watching their monitors anymore,” said a granddaughter of the couple. “We were watching them. We put their hands together.”
Teresa, who was 89-years-old, died at 12:10 a.m. on Saturday, April 22, and Isaac, who was 91-years-old, died around 40 minutes later.
“The moment he felt we removed her hand from his, he was able to say ‘OK, I’m done protecting her. I can go rest as well,'” said Daniel.
“His hand was on top of hers,” added Leo. “He was trying to breathe. And then, as they wheeled her out, his hand was hanging over the bed. I turned around, and he wasn’t breathing anymore.”
Clara Gesklin, the couple’s daughter, echoed the statements of her brothers, saying, “All of a sudden, when their fingers separated, he just stopped breathing.”
The Daily Herald also covered the story, adding some information about the memorial service held for the couple. According to that article, eulogies for the couple told of how kind Teresa was and how Isaac could do “anything he set his mind to.”
This kind of love story is not new. Several people have been known to die days or minutes apart from loved ones. Perhaps one of the more familiar instances is that of Carrie Fisher and her mother, Debbie Reynolds, who died within a day of one another in December. The Inquisitr covered a similar story in 2014. This phenomenon even makes its mark in entertainment, especially in the genre of romance films. True love, such as that of Isaac and Teresa Vatkin, does exist in the real world. One only needs to look to find it.
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