A couple—after 67 years of inseparable love together—died within three days of each other, according to the Mirror.
Hans Schaffer, 92, and his beloved wife Josie, 83, were buried together in the same coffin because their family felt the two could never bear to be apart from one another. The incredible thing about this pair’s story is that they have between 130 and 140 grandchildren and great-grandchildren at the time of their death.
Hans and Josie had 11 children and, although they lived together in Bedford, their family extended to many countries around the world, including Australia and America. Their home life was described as always being a mad rush, but a home also filled with love and laughter—clearly it must have been rooted in the pair’s love for each other.
In a 2008 interview–at the time their family had 56 grandchildren and 43 great-grandchildren–Josie said that “we work hard at our family,” and attributed that hard work to the success of their relationship.
The couple’s children had to organize the relatives’ last visits into shifts, so that everyone grieving would have the opportunity to pay last respects.
Hans and Josie were deeply committed to each other, and their love was cherished and respected by all of their family—who made sure to keep the couple together and never separated them despite illnesses that needed to be cared for. The two were treated at home so they could stay together.
Although Hans was diagnosed with stomach cancer three years ago—at the time he was given only six months to live—it was ultimately the heartbreak of losing his soulmate that ended his life, according to his son.
Josie passed away from a respiratory illness, and their son Jonathan said that was the real turning point for his father’s health.
Jonathan said that they were devoted, and the longest time they spent apart was in the three weeks before their death—even then it was only to separate bedrooms in the same house.
“He was a fighter,” Jonathan said about his father’s health. After Josie’s death “you could see the sadness in his eyes, he was heartbroken.” According to their son, “that’s how I know he really died of a broken heart.”