A real-life ‘Notebook’ couple who met at 17 before sharing a lifelong love story died side-by-side within hours of each other aged 93.
Childhood sweethearts Máire and Gerry Ryan were born just one day apart in Tipperary and enjoyed an eight-decade long romance.
They lived in the same nursing home after Máire developed Alzheimer’s and Gerry fell ill.
They went into a nursing home together after both becoming ill, and their beds had been wheeled together so they could hold hands.
The Irish couple passed away on Monday surrounded by staff and nurses at the Curragh Lawn Nursing Home in Co Kildare, and their eight decade love story has been compared to the hit film The Notebook.
Máire and Gerry married nine years after meeting, when Gerry’s career in the army brought him to Newbridge, Co Kildare, RSVP Live reports.
Gerry was a retired army commandant who had later joined Ireland’s Training and Employment Authority, later going on to complete a PhD with wife’s help.
Máire was a popular teacher and principal, however, after retiring she was diagnosed with a severe strain of Alzheimer’s which saw devoted Gerry become her full time carer.
Máire and Gerry’s heartwarming story has been compared to hit Hollywood film The Notebook, which stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams as a couple who share a lifelong romance before McAdams’ character develops dementia.
Determined to do everything for his beloved wife, Gerry cared for her in their home for several years, however after he developed severe arthritis leaving him unable to walk, the couple went to Curragh Lawn Nursing Home together for long-term care.
Their love and dedication were the praise of the nursing home staff, who told RSVP Live they had never seen a love like it.
Staff worker Sarrita, said: “Gerry used to hold her hand all the time and remind her about the olden times and their life.”
“He used to orientate her to the present every single day. He would sit and tell her poems, he loved Irish poetry, and he used to sing to her at night. I have never seen anything like that.”
“I am in the nursing home 13 years and we never saw anything like them. He was so dedicated to her.”
Two weeks ago, Gerry’s health deteriorated and he was transferred to hospital. But care home staff said Máire struggled to cope without him and she went downhill.
She stopped communicating, eating and kept looking for her husband.
When they realised there was nothing more they could do, the hospital sent Gerry back to the care home for palliative care.
And, the day before he died, the loving husband asked to be moved so he could hold his wife’s hand one last time.
Máire passed away at 3.45am and Gerry passed away at 5.20pm on the same day.