SALEM, NH – William and Carol Stewart had been married almost 45 years. They had known each other since Carol was four years old. According to their children, they spent the last 44 years doing everything together.
Given the past-tense usage of these first three sentences, it might be easy to determine that both William and Carol left this life for their eternal ones. In an amazing closing chapter to their story, they did that together as well.
Their daughter, Melissa Noke, said that eight members of their family had contracted COVID. Carol was on life support for two weeks. William, who suffered from lung and kidney failure, was for 8 days.
Nokes said that neither of her parents were vaccinated. The family had been unable to visit them during their last days due to hospital protocols. On December 30th, Parkland Medical Center conducted their “Walk of Heros.” This allowed family members to see their loved ones, even if just f or a few seconds.
William, 73, and Carol, 69, were placed in the same room, side by side. Staff members put Carol’s hand in her husband’s. Seconds later, William drew his final breath. Roughly 10 seconds later, Carol breathed her last.
“Placed both beds side-by-side, placing my mother’s hand into my father’s hand,” Noke said.
“As soon as they touched hands, my father took his last breath, and then my mother 10 seconds later. They were the true definition of soulmates because it’s like having love birds. You can’t just buy one: you’ve got to buy both.”
According to ABC 7, she was asked what she would say to her parents now if she could. “It’s an honor to be your daughter, and I love you and I will see you again someday,” she responded.
As tragic as this story is, it is equally as heart-warming and touching. It is vaguely reminiscent of a Mark Schultz song that reminds this writer of his own grandparent’s story of caring for each other, even through death. It is called Walking Her Home.
The first and the last verses and their choruses go like this:
“Looking back, he sees it all. It was her first date the night he came to call.
Her dad said, ‘son have her home on time, and promise me you’ll never leave her side.’
He took her to a show in town, and he was ten feet off the ground.
He was walking her home and holding her hand.
Oh, the way she smiled, it stole the breath right out of him.
Down that old road with the stars up above. He remembers where he was the night he fell in love.
He was walking her home.
He walked her through the best days of her life.
Sixty years together and he never left her side.
A nursing home at eighty-five. The doctor said it could be her last night.
And the nurse said ‘Oh, should we tell him now?
Or should he wait until the morning to find out?’
But when they checked her room that night, he was laying by her side.
He was walking her home and holding her hand.
Oh, the way she smiled when he said this is not the end.
And just for a while they were eighteen. She was still more beautiful to him than anything.
He was walking her home.”
This type of love is what I pray for my wife and me. In fact, I pray it for all couples. Through life and into death, may we all have someone that we cannot live without.
Elderly Vietnam veteran kills home intruder who attacked his wife: ‘That guy picked the wrong house’
AIKEN, SC — An armed intruder picked the wrong house to invade and paid a heavy price when he was severely beaten by an elderly Vietnam veteran protecting his wife who was slashed by the suspect’s knife.
The suspect, Harold Runnels, 61, forced his way into the home of 82-year-old Herbert Parrish and 79-year-old Lois Parrish.
Herbert Parrish, 82, says a man forced his way into their home, pulled out a large knife and began attacking his wife. That's when he grabbed a shotgun and beat the intruder with the handle of the gun until the man was unconscious. https://t.co/blLihEl1wF
— FOX 35 Orlando (@fox35orlando) February 18, 2021
Runnels knocked on the back door of the Parrish home around 2 p.m. on Feb. 15. When Lois opened it, Runnels asked if she had seen his dog.
She told FOX 57:
“I opened the door and he said he was looking for his little white chihuahua and wanted to know if I saw it. I told him, no, I didn’t.”
Lois then tried to close the door, but Runnels suddenly forced his way into the house and allegedly pulled a large knife and began attacking Lois with the back handle of it. Lois fell to the ground and injured her left index finger.
Runnels used his knife to slice her face, according to FOX 57.
Harold told the news station he feared for their lives:
“I felt, we’re gone. He’s going to kill us and take what he can take.”
Herbert then sprang into action. He grabbed a shotgun that was mounted on a wall and beat Runnels with it until he fell to the ground and became unresponsive, according to WJBF-TV.
righteous protector of "The Wrong House",
Herbert Parrish recalls grabbing a shotgun hanging on his wall and smashing the intruders face in until he was neutralized,
Parrish didn't even fire a shot. 🔥
— Matthew Smith 🏌🏻♂️ (@mattassmith) February 18, 2021
“I started hitting him in the head with the barrel and I know I must have hit him at least ten times right in the face, just as hard as I could hit him.”
Capt. Eric Abdullah of the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Herbert “was able to strike Mr. Runnels enough to the point where he fell to the floor still being conscious but unresponsive.” Aiken County Coroner Darryl Ables confirmed Runnels died at the Augusta University Medical Center later Monday night from the injuries he sustained during the attack, according to FOX 57.
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WJBF-TV reported that Runnels lived in a nearby mobile home community.
Neighbor Jessica Clark told WJBF-TV:
“This street is normally not that crazy or anything and we all know each other and everything. I never would have expected it to happen here. And so, I kinda feel like it puts a stain on this neighborhood in a way.”
Neighbors told the TV station they did not know the suspect and are shocked about the attempted home invasion. Clark said she was relieved to hear the victims were ok. She said Herbert is a decorated vet who fought in Vietnam:
“But when I heard they were able to fend off the suspect, I was so proud of them and I was like, ok, so that guy picked the wrong house.”
Authorities in South Carolina say a man accused of attacking an elderly couple in their home is dead after the 82-year-old husband fought back.https://t.co/NWRBuUjZ4c
— Denver7 News (@DenverChannel) February 17, 2021
Capt. Abdullah said people need to be careful when opening their doors to strangers.
In a statement, the captain said:
“We would encourage anyone who encounters suspects that are attempting to unlawfully enter their home, call for immediate help. It is best to get help on the way and give as many details as possible on the suspect(s) as well as reporting the actions of the suspect.”
Clark said that while she used to feel comfortable leaving the doors to her home open, she will now keep them locked:
“You know, it does give us a little bit of paranoia and stuff. I was actually with my sister, helping her that day when it happened. “And so, I was like, man, what if they would have picked my place? And so that was a little scary for me.”
Runnels’ motive is unknown. His body will be sent to Newberry for an autopsy and toxicology report. The Aiken County Sheriff’s Office said there will be no charges filed against the victims. While the couple was injured, they are expected to fully recover.