Heartbroken Wife Dies Within Hours of Her Husband's Death

An elderly woman died just hours after her husband passed away on the couple's 76th wedding anniversary.

Published Aug 12, 2014

A recently widowed woman in England has died, just hours after the death of her husband.

There is a deeply held

cultural belief some individuals "die of a broken heart" after the loss of a partner or spouse, and research indicates that indeed, risk of serious cardiovascular events increases sharply during the bereavement period.

World War II veteran Clifford Hartland was 101 when he died on July 29. Just 14 hours later his 97-year-old wife Marjorie passed away — on what would have been the couple's 76th wedding anniversary.

The couple's daughter Christine, 67, told a local news source that her father had been a prisoner of war, and that her mother had rejected an initial determination that Clifford had been killed in action.

She recalled:

I don't know how Dad survived — mainly luck and determination, I think ... There were 700 men in his regiment when they went out, but only four ever came back. Dad was the last to die from his regiment.

In 1942, Mum got a letter from the Colonel of the Coast Regiment saying Dad was missing, presumed dead. She had the papers to claim a widow's pension. She absolutely refused to believe it ... She lived without him for four years, but she never believed he was dead.


According to their daughter, Clifford and Marjorie Hartland were inseparable. Christine described speaking to her mother following Clifford's death, adding:

Afterwards, Mum just kept saying, 'I can't live without him.' That night, Mum rang me ... She was upset and I told her to think about all the happy times they'd shared in their marriage while she drifted off to sleep ... She died at 1am, and I like to think that's exactly what she was doing ... It's a perfect love story. I'm devastated they're gone but so happy for them — they've never really had to live without one another.

The undertaker said he had never seen anything like it, when he came to collect Mum. Paramedics said she died of a heart attack - literally of a broken heart.


Clifford and Marjorie Hartland shared a funeral on August 12. Their daughter commented to local news sources that the pair "did every single thing together in life, so it's only right they have a joint funeral, too."

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as back in 1994.

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