Married Couple Of 76 Years Face Their Biggest Challenge Yet

ADVERTISEMENT

Love is many things. It can be happiness, it can be pain and a lot of sacrifices may need to be made in order to maintain it. Love can also be a string of wonderful memories. But one couple recently faced the danger of losing everything they had, threatening their love forever.

Looking Back

Here we see a photo taken on the day of Pat and Carmela Testa’s wedding day. For Pat, who you can see in the reflection of the photo, this monumental occasion feels like it was yesterday.

alzheimer's 9

Meet The Husband

Flash forward nearly 80 years later to the present day and we have Pat Testa. A humble man from New Jersey. Pat has spent the majority of his life with the girl of his dreams, Carmela. Nowadays, Pat enjoys a simple life in his elderly years. He loves to reminisce about his happy life, looking through the many photos of him and his loved ones that he has collated over the years. Together, the couple had two daughters.

couple 26

Here Comes The Bride

Pat met Carmela, or Millie as he calls her, in 1937. Millie lived in Newark, New Jersey at the time and Pat worked as a 16-year-old usher at a theater in the neighborhood. She would often go to the theater and at the very least, she’d go practically every Thursday. “I was an usher in a theatre named The Embassy in Newark,” Pat said. “My wife lived in that neighborhood and she used to come to that theatre every Thursday evening.”

couple 3

Match Made In Newark

It wouldn’t take long though before the two locked eyes in that theater and hit it off. They fell in love and just two years later, in 1939, Pat and Millie tied the knot. It was truly a match made in heaven and as you can see in this photo, the newlyweds were just made for one another. And had you told them that they would still be together in the 21st Century, they probably would have laughed at you. But this became a reality.

alzheimer's 4

The Big Day

For Pat, it was if the wedding was yesterday. He recalled how the couple rented a Cadillac from the local undertaker. Their big day took place at St. Lucy’s Church and all their friends and family were in attendance. In order to capture their beautiful moment together forever, the couple had many photos taken of them in their wedding attires. Pat looked ravishing in his black tux, while Millie wore a gorgeous white dress.

couple 25

Vivid Memories

In the 76 years that he has been with Millie, Pat recalls virtually every part very clearly. And despite having their own tests, such as going through World War II, the couple remained together. “We’ve been married now since 1939,” he said. “Today makes us 76 years.” Living to 76 years of age is a remarkable feat for any healthy person, but these two have been married for that long. Quite a remarkable achievement. But there is something else that makes this story particularly remarkable…

alzheimer's 10

It Was All So Simple

Pat looks back on photos like this one with such fond memories. The couple got married in a time period when life was a lot more simple in many ways. For example, when people search for their loved ones nowadays, there seems to be so many boxes to tick in order to stand any chance of even getting past the first date. But for Pat and Millie, it only took one glance during an encounter at the theater to define their entire lives.

alzheimer's 5

Not Always Easy

But make no mistake about it, Pat and Millie certainly didn’t have the perfect marriage. After so much time spent together, it was only natural that the couple went through their fair share of fights. In fact, there were some occasions when Millie asked for a divorce. But ultimately, they have never felt like that was truly an option and things are still peachy between the two. But more problems that were out of their control have plagued them in recent times.

couple 24

Love At Each Sight

Just like the first time he met her – even now, whenever Pat sees his wife enter the room, his eyes just sparkle and a wave of emotion takes over him. “Oh, this is my pretty wife. You see that? She’s still a beautiful woman.” Nowadays, even though the couple are still married, they live in separate places. This is actually for a very practical reason, and it makes Pat’s regular meetings with his wife just that more emotional…

alzheimer's 11

Like The First Kiss

Within reason, if Pat’s able to see his wife, then he’ll do everything in his power to make sure that it happens. And every time they see each other, it’s just like the first time they ever shared a kiss together. “I go and see her every single day of the week that I’m able to,” Pat said. Every time they reunite, Pat will say to Millie, “give me a kiss.” Without hesitation, she always does.

couple 12

Something’s Missing

However, there’s something deeper that makes this story even more captivating. We can not ignore the reality of the situation. After being married for nearly eight decades, there is no denying that time and health has had a huge part to play Pat and Millie’s relationship. Take Pat, for example. In his old age, it is clear that he struggles to walk. As a result, he requires an electric wheelchair to get around. Things just aren’t the same from a physical perspective.

alzheimer's 13

Mind Over Matter

Every day that Pat wakes up, he thinks of his darling wife. But now, he has to wake up alone in his assisted-living home. Pat, who is 97 years of age, wears a hearing aid and bifocals. He has a very weak voice and requires assistance when getting dressed. Despite getting weaker physically, his mind remains as strong as ever. Pat has a photographic memory and remembers even the most trivial things in his life. But why does this couple not live together anymore?

alzheimer's 14

Growing Pains

It is evident that in their old age, it has become increasingly challenging for Pat and Millie to care for each other in the ways that they used to for the majority of their lives. This could explain why they no longer live together, despite still being married and in love. The harsh reality is that they are just physically incapable of taking care of each other. They require professional care in order to maintain a decent quality of life.

couple 25

Things Have Changed

There is no denying that Pat and Millie’s relationship has seen some drastic changes in recent times. For a start, because they don’t live together anymore, Pat spends a lot more time alone. He is slowly adjusting to this and now has to spend many occasions eating by himself and spending time with others. Unfortunately, there are many times when loneliness creeps up on Pat, and all he wants to do is visit his wife. He also admitted something upsetting about her…

alzheimer's 15

Harsh Words

Although they are technically still together, Pat has admitted something Millie says that makes him feel uneasy. According to him, Millie has started to tell Pat that he is no longer her husband. “We live separately because my wife has started claiming that we were not married anymore,” he said. But what does this mean exactly? Does Millie not love Pat anymore? After 76 years together, did she suddenly have a change of heart? Has the spark finally faded? Surely not.

alzheimer's 16

Still Together

The answer is that this couldn’t be further from the truth. Even after saying such harsh words, Millie still lets Pat come to visit her. “This is the way we spend our days together,” Pat said. “We don’t talk much. But at least we’re together.” But there has to be something more to all of this. Surely Millie hasn’t stopped loving Pat, not after he has been by her side through thick and thin for the good part of a century.

couple 17

Here’s Millie

Since she moved to the care home, Millie has undoubtedly missed being around her husband 24/7. Maybe she didn’t express this feeling through words, but you can certainly see it in her demeanor. However, in terms of the amount of time the couple spends together, things haven’t changed too drastically. What is it exactly that put all these changes into work in the first place? Millie obviously still loves Pat. So what is the true cause of all of this?

alzheimer's 19

Faded Memories

The truth behind this situation is that Millie was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. “I noticed my wife was not doing too well. I finally sent her to a doctor and the diagnosis was Alzheimer’s.” The news was absolutely heartbreaking for Pat. Here was the lady who he had been alongside for so many years – a beautiful, intelligent woman with such a clear mind. To see her this way and to finally have confirmation of her condition must’ve been devastating.

alzheimer's 18

Still Smiling

However, Pat always looks on the bright side of life. Even though the news was tough to hear, he concentrates on the positives. “My wife still walks, is still pretty healthy. Except that, you know, she lost all her memory,” he said. He makes sure that whenever he is with Millie, he will smile in front of her. And Millie, who was always a happy-go-lucky kind of girl, has still retained her radiant smile, which has rubbed off on Pat over the years.

alzheimer's 20

Millie’s Words

Then, in a beautiful moment, a nurse asked Millie who had come to visit her on that calm Sunday afternoon. Without hesitation, Pat’s wife responded by saying, “he’s my husband.” In just three words, Millie was able to shake Pat to his very core and move him to tears of joy. Despite facing one of the biggest tests of their 76 years together, after everything they had been through, Millie was still able to confidently say that Pat was hers.

alzheimer's 21

The Language Of Love

To make Pat’s day even sweeter,  when she asked her to give him a kiss, she obliged and planted a huge smacker on his lips. This kiss signified something bittersweet in the couple’s relationship. In such a short space of time, Millie had lost so much recollection of what had come before. This included the many dates the couple had gone on and the quiet walks in the park together. But after developing her condition, she was still able to kiss the man she loved.

alzheimer's 8

Something Inside So Strong

Although her relationship with Pat is such a massive part of her life, Millie also lost so many other vivid memories from her past. She had little recollection of those snowy Thursday nights when she was a young girl who would venture to the theater with friends and family to watch the newest production. This period in Millie’s life clearly shows how fragile the human mind can be and in the blink of an eye, we can lose so much.

alzheimer's 22

Returning Images

It’s photos like this one that are merely faded memories for Millie. According to Pat, Millie still brings certain memories to the surface during their ongoing interactions. “We just sit around and sometimes, you know, she’ll come up with some kind of story and I’m a good listener.” On the flipside though, Millie may say things that are not true. There have been times when she told Pat he is not her husband and even told him to go to hell.

couple 7

Warmest Embrace

Despite not being able to recall many details of their long and deep history together, the touch of Pat’s hand will always remind Millie who the love of her life is. It’s amazing that after such a tragic moment for this couple, the feeling of one’s touch can evoke so much feeling and emotion. Their love transcends words and in the twilight of her life, there are certainly some fragments of clarity that remind Millie of Pat’s undying love.

alzheimer's 1

Love Prevails

This story is as heartwarming as it is heartbreaking. Despite going through one of the most devastating changes a couple could possibly go through, Pat let love take over and his undying dedication towards his wife Millie is truly inspiring. It should send a message to the couples out there who are having their own relationship troubles. This sort of story may even put things into perspective – no matter what obstacles may come our way, love can always prevail.

alzheimer's 23

ADVERTISEMENT