In 1975, their son, Peter, died during the last football game of his high school senior year.
“At that point, we began to really see a softer side of my dad. Parents aren’t supposed to bury their kids and that really took a toll on my folks, but it also brought them together. Something like that can either tear a couple apart, but they made a pact to get through it together. They really were each other’s support team.”
Life brought about numerous challenges afterward, and in 2013, Isabell started showing dementia signs.
This made the couple move into a long-term care facility in Norfolk, Virginia. They stayed in the same place but slept in separate rooms. These times were especially difficult for them, especially for Preble, who was forced to watch his loved one drift deeper into the disease.
“They just found another way to express their love. Dad, even after he stopped walking and was in a wheelchair, he would wheel himself down to the Memory Care Unit and go visit mom. When I would reunite them, they always, the first thing they’d do was put their hands out and hold each other’s hand and tell each other they loved each other.”
Preble was one last wish before his 96th birthday, to have one more nap with his wife.
His wish was made true with the help of the staff of the facility, and the couple had three hours for a nap, in order to enjoy their true love once more, being one beside the other.
“There was not a single word spoken between the two of them. They held hands and just fell asleep.”
Only several days afterward, on October 25, 2017, Isabell passed away, and her husband was there to say goodbye. After 14 hours, Preble died too.
This was the end of their amazing life together, that lasted for 71 years. Yet, their love left an unforgettable mark in the lives of all people that had the chance to meet them.
Laurie put it in a nutshell:
“Mom and dad really lived out that, if you make a commitment, and even though life gets rough or life gets in the way, you work through life. And you live your life together.”