There are multiple instances of couples or siblings dying moments apart after having lived in each other's company for decades. These heartbreaking incidents might seem to be actual proof of love. However, science does have a plausible explanation for the phenomenon.
We are quite fond of reading about couples who lived together for a long time, who died within minutes or hours of each other. As one succumbed to illness or old age, the other too chose to leave his or her earthly abode. While there are many cases of couples dying within minutes or hours of one another, quite a few have passed away within a few days or weeks as well. Quite naturally, we are all drawn to these melancholy but heart-warming stories, probably because they sound like testaments of true and all-encompassing love, in which the partner that is left behind chooses to give up on life rather than live without his or her partner.
Though it is a nice thought and certainly warms our heart, is it mere coincidence or something else? While it may seem to occur with alarming alacrity, it is perhaps in all likelihood the result of the media cherry-picking such news stories. The news about elderly couples who die within a few minutes or hours of each other is certainly a human interest story that is bound to pique the interest and the emotions of the reader.
Incidentally, there are millions of people who outlive their partners by decades, but of course, we certainly won't hear about them. Moreover, this doesn't mean that people who outlive their partners didn't love them enough to die as soon the other one died. It's just that they aren't "newsworthy."
Still, as it turns out there is a plausible scientific explanation behind the phenomenon of elderly couples passing away within moments of each other. Science prefers to call it the "Broken Heart Syndrome." Though relatively common, the syndrome severely affects elderly people owing to their weaker hearts.
Death of a long-loved spouse or sibling is by far the most stressful thing that can happen to any person. The sheer mental agony, anguish, and grief is brutal to the heart and mind. Stress, as all doctors point out, has severe physical manifestations. Stress can easily cause many physical ailments, including loss of appetite, depression, anxiety, and in many cases, the simple abandonment of the willingness to live.
This also explains why younger couples generally do not die within moments of each other. While an elderly couple dying may sound heartwarming, young couples dying together comes across as tragic and horrifying.
[Image Credit | Melissa Sloan]