In today’s time, relationships do not last for long. It almost seems like we have lost the meaning of love. There can be several reasons for this. It might be that we are realizing that we can get into relationships too easily with the internet and so we do not put much value in it. Or maybe, we don’t believe in the magic of love anymore. And that’s why some of us just look into the past and think of the love that existed back in the day. And yes, it was magical back then. The love story of Preble Staver and Isabell Whitney shows just that.
Born only a few days apart from each other, Preble Staver (born October 17, 1921) met Isabell Whitney (born October 31, 1921) on a blind date. They almost knew that they have to spend their life together from then on. Little did they know it will last for 70 years! But the Second World War struck back then. They had to separate, but they did not want to miss out on a shared experience. As a result, Preble Staver ended up in the army as a Marine while Isabell Whitney became a nurse. The war remained a deep part of their lives and it shaped their relationships. After all, a relationship developed during a period of strife lasts so much longer and is so much stronger than those that occur during times of comfort.
When the war ended, the lovers got married about 5 months later. The happy couple had five children. Laurie Staver Clinton, one of their offspring, mentions how her parents made her what she is now. Her mother had taught her how it was impossible to change people but then, we could change our attitude towards them. Preble was a tad bit stricter. He had rules and would want his children to stick to it. For Isabell, the rules were flexible – the children could easily get away with things.
But the war was not the only tragedy that struck the family. In 1975, when the family was living in Naples, their son Peter died. This was a tragedy that revealed a lot about the family. While Preble tried to show externally that he was unaffected, the tragedy moved him and he was able to show his softer side. After all, there is nothing worse for a parent than burying their own child. But the tragedy brought the family much closer to one another and now, they were like a team, supporting each other.
They moved to Bluffton, South Carolina and then, they moved again to Virginia where the other family members lived. Reunion turned out to be great and they had a wonderful time together.
But tragedy does not really stop at that. With old age, Isabell started to display certain traits which were the classic signs of dementia. They had to move to Norfolk to a long-term care facility. The husband and wife stayed together in the facility. However, as the disease progressed, they had to separate. Preble was really frustrated and did not want to leave his wife alone.
But no love was lost between them. Isabelle used to sometimes forget what she was saying in the middle of a sentence but she never forgot Preble. And Preble, even after losing the strength of his legs, would roll down with his wheelchair to Isabelle, hold her hands, and tell her how much he loved her.
Before his 96th birthday, Preble had one last wish – he wanted to take a nap with Isabelle. The permission was granted and they slept beside each other. It was a peaceful moment and there was no exchange of words between them. They just held their hands and slept.
On October 25th, Staver came to know that her mother was dying. She rushed to the hospital and reunited the couple once more. Her father could not take the struggles that Isabelle was going through. The final goodbye was the hardest. Isabelle died that day, but she did not have to be alone for too long. Her husband followed – 14 hours later, releasing his last breath.
Isabelle and Preble’s love just shows how many challenges a couple has to go through life. They stuck to each other through thick and thin and never gave up on anything. They committed, remained strong, and they were able to come out strong after 70 years. They suffered from many wounds and scars, but lived through thousands of happy memories too. In the end, Isabelle and Preble become a model of love – a love of the past and a love of the future. Pure love. We don’t know if we can ever get anything like that ever again.