UNION COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - A couple married for 68 years spent their final chapter in a way they had always hoped for – together.
Atwood and Leona Cool passed away on the same morning at their Union County home.
"It was remarkable, there were times where you could see their breathing together, two connected souls,” the couple’s son, Tim Cool, said.
Atwood and Leona met during Leona’s sophomore year of college and wed shortly after. Atwood was studying to become a pastor.
"They were married 68 years during that period of time and had 4 great kids, well at least one great kid and 3 others,” Tim joked.
Tim described his family as being close. "They were always loving with each other; I don't ever remember them yelling at each other,” Tim said of his parents.
Leona was later diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She was starting to make progress “but the chemo was just killing her,” Tim said. "Dad started seeing mom deteriorate and I could see it all over him.”
After being together for 68 years – Leona, 87, and Atwood, 90, - they got hospice beds set up next to each other at their home.
Cool says hospice of Union County, part of Atrium Health, was extremely helpful for his parents at this time in their lives.
"He opened his eyes and looked at mom and she opened her eyes and looked at him and it was the last time they opened them,” Tim Cool said.
Days later, on Dec. 8, 2018, Atwood took his final breaths next to his wife in their living room. Five hours later, Leona took hers.
“He always told us kids, ‘mom and I need to go at the same time,’” Tim Cool said. “They got their wish of going together.”