PLATTE, S.D. — An elderly Christian couple recently passed into eternity just 20 minutes apart from each other.
One of the sons of Henry and Jeanette De Lange is sharing the couple’s story with the media, as he was there to witness his parents’ final moments.
Jeanette, 87, had suffered from Alzheimers and consequently lived in a nursing home since 2011. Henry, 86, visited her every day. They had been married for 63 years.
“Dad visited mom once a day, twice, or maybe three times a day,” son Lee De Lange told television station KSFY. “It was very sweet.”
Henry suffered from prostate cancer.
After recent falls, Henry ended up in the nursing home himself, and staff placed him in the same room as his wife.
“Wednesday, when we checked him in, he said, ‘I don’t know how many more days I have, Lee—how many more days the good Lord will have me here,” Lee De Lange recalled.
Days later, on July 31, the De Lange children received a phone call that both of their parents were not expected to live much longer and were urged to come to the nursing home as soon as possible. Two were able to arrive to be with Henry and Jeanette.
Being told by the doctor that there wasn’t much time left, the children read Psalm 103 out loud to the De Langes. Jeanette passed into eternity in the middle of the reading.
“We didn’t quite get done,” Lee recalled. “She passed away very, very peacefully.”
Lee’s brother Keith then spoke to their father to let him know that Jeanette had passed.
“My brother Keith said to my dad, ‘Mom’s gone to Heaven. You don’t have to fight anymore. You can go too if you want,'” Lee recalled. “[Dad], for the first time, opened his eyes [and] looked intently over where Mom was. [He then] closed his eyes back down.”
Five to ten minutes later, Henry transcended from this life to the next.
“We’re calling it a beautiful act of God’s providential love and mercy,” Lee said. “You don’t pray for it because it seems mean, but you couldn’t ask for anything more beautiful.”
He recalled that even more interestingly, the clock on the wall stopped working at the exact minute that Henry passed.
A service was held for the couple this past Sunday at Platte Christian Reformed Church, where they were faithful members.
“Mom and Dad were Christians. They loved Christ. They wanted so badly to show their love for Christ that they loved one another. It’s a natural what they do,” Lee told reporters. “For them to be able to be a witness in life, and honestly in death also, that’s [special].”