Death could not apart these soulmates
Dec 24, 2016
"I don't know what I would do without him," she said.
Dolores Winstead meant this since the moment she met her husband and stood by him through thick and thin. Trent Winstead and Dolores married for sixty three years remained side by side in the ups and downs of life with the birth of two children, three grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. For more than six decades, Dolores and Trent stayed together and even death could not apart these loving soul mates.
It was the early-1950s - just before Trent left for the war - when they began dating. Eventually they got married. Dolores, a reserved woman who loved to cook, and Trent, an outgoing golfer and avid fisherman. He worked at a Ford glass plant, and she worked making hymnals and literature for religious services. After retirement, they spent endless quiet days together in their home, watching the 10 p.m. news on the couch every night, and going to church together every Sunday. He called her "Mama," or by her middle name, Aileen, stealing kisses from her, and dancing with her at weddings. The couple fell in love over and over again.
Trent was the type of stalwart, Purple-Heart veteran who never liked going to the doctor. "I'll be fine," he always said. But when nausea caused him to stopped eating for multiple days earlier this month, his daughter finally made him go to the hospital. As the emergency room medical staff treated him on Dec. 6, it was clear his kidneys were failing, and he would need dialysis. He was admitted to the intensive care unit, and the dialysis began to weaken his heart.
This was mostly silent as she stood by her husband's hospital bed earlier this month, cupping his hand in both of hers. The 88-year-old man's kidneys had begun to fail, he hadn't eaten in days and his blood pressure was sinking. As Trent Winstead's condition deteriorated, and before Dolores fell ill beside him, the 83-year-old woman spoke softly to her daughter.
The couple's two children tried to limit the information they told their mother about his condition, but after a while, even Dolores knew his condition was worsening quickly.
For most of the first two days in the hospital with him, Dolores - a fairly healthy woman for her age - seemed to be feeling fine. But on the night of Dec. 7, she began to complain of a headache. Then she started throwing up. At about 10 p.m. that night, she sat down in a chair in her husband's hospital room, resting in a sitting position with her head slumped over. Medical staff initially placed her in a hospital room separate from Trent's, where they kept her connected to a ventilator. When the children broke the news of her aneurysm to Trent, he couldn't quite understand it. Neither could anyone else in the room - even the cardiologist was tearing up seeing Dolores in her state, having spent the previous day speaking with her. It had all happened so fast.
Noticing Dolores's deteriorating condition, and Trent's anguish, the hospital staff received approval to - for the first time in the hospital's history - place the married couple in the same room, positioning their hospital beds right next to each other. In their final moments - just as they had on countless other nights - the couple lay together, side by side, holding hands. At 9:10 p.m. on Dec. 9, about five weeks before the couple's 64th anniversary, Dolores stopped breathing.
For the first several minutes, Sheryl Winstead and her brother, Eddie Winstead, could not bring themselves to tell their father that his best friend and partner was gone. Finally, Eddie Winstead went up to Trent. "She's passed on, Dad," he said tenderly. Trent reached his hand upwards, appearing to blow a kiss to his wife lying beside him, his daughter said.
He told his daughter, "you need to get her a pink casket, and a pink dress, because that's what she wanted." Of course, Sheryl Winstead already knew.
The 88-year-old man held out for longer than his children expected. But Sheryl Winstead knew it would only be a matter of time.
"Because she was gone, he just could not handle it," Sheryl Winstead said. "We just watched him die."
For the couple's joint funeral on Dec. 16, their family members chose to play a song they thought was fitting, "Love Remains," by Hillary Scott. Dolores's casket was pink, and Trent's was blue, just as they each wanted. And for their burial - in the same way the couple departed - they were laid to rest together, side by side.
(This story has not been edited by Jammu Links News staff and is generated from a syndicated feed.)