Couple of 62 years hold hands for last time after nurse pushes beds together

An elderly couple were able to hold hands for one final time after a nurse pushed their hospital beds together to allow them to say goodbye.

Days after this poignant picture was taken, John Wilson, 92, passed away with cancer. His wife of 62 years, Marjorie, 88, was discharged from hospital to return to her care home.

At the end of May, John was given the news that he had terminal cancer, at the same time that his wife was already being cared for at Queen’s Hospital in Burton, Staffordshire.

Sensing that the couple were about to be separated for the last time, nurse Emma Barker quickly arranged for their beds to be pushed together.

She took a picture of the emotional moment they said goodbye to one another – holding hands for around 10 minutes.

John passed away at home in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, on June 15. The photo of him and Marjorie is their last together. The couple’s son Kurt wrote a letter to the hospital thanking them for capturing the picture and ensuring his dad was able to ‘die how he wanted to, peacefully and in my arms’.

He added: ‘Thank you all so very much for the loving care and attention you gave both my parents

‘I’d like to say a special thank you to sister Emma, who had the foresight to take a photo of mum and dad together for the last time. Again, words are not enough to express my gratitude to you all.’


Nurse Emma said the decision to ensure the family had the lasting memory was one she made spontaneously.

She said: ‘I can’t even imagine what it’s like to be married to someone for more than 60 years and know that you’re never going to see them again. The picture had everyone crying when they saw it – it was very emotional and powerful.

‘To hear how happy the family were after receiving this picture has really impacted us all and the letter that they sent was so lovely.

‘The whole reason you become a nurse is to care for people and to have moments like this. To now know that Mr Wilson’s son will have; not only this photo, but also the knowledge that his father saw his mother for a final time, will remain a significant memory for me.

‘I like to treat all patients as if they were my family and I know that I would be extremely humbled knowing someone had done that for a relative of mine.’

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