The pain of losing a loved one can be excruciating and the thought of moving on with life without a partner by your side is often difficult to comprehend.
Many become overwhelmed with stress and grief as their world is turned upside down with some people even dying of a broken heart. It may seem like an exaggeration, but that is exactly what happened to one man who passed away only days after his wife of 70 years, Fox 8 News in the United States reports.
Just like a fairytale, Paul Fitz and Agnes Krame fell in love as teenagers and were engaged by the time they finished school. They were inseparable; spending every moment together and enjoying all of life’s ups and downs, along with their nine children.
So when Agnes fell ill, and passed away at the age of 86, it became all too much for Paul, who couldn’t imagine spending the rest of his life without his beloved wife.
It was just 36 hours and 31 minutes later, when Paul too, took his final breath. Speaking to Fox 8 News, the couple’s son Dave said he knew his dad wasn’t going to let his mum be alone.
“I think my dad died of a broken heart because, you know, he knew his wife was going to pass away and he kind of gave up because he didn’t want to live any longer after she was gone,” he explained.
While the couple’s other son added: “My sister was right. We are all good here; you go ahead and take care of mum and we will be fine, and that was probably his last breath and it was incredibly touching”.
According to research published by Rice University in the Psychoneuroendocrinology Journal, grief can cause inflammation that can kill.
As part of the study published last month, researchers conducted interviews and analysed blood samples of 99 people whose partners had recently passed away. Participants included in the study showed a variety of symptoms of elevated grief including pining for their loved one who passed away, difficulty moving on, a sense that life had become meaningless and trouble accepting the reality of loss. Some in the study didn’t exhibit any of these behaviours.
Researchers discovered widows and widowers with elevated grief symptoms experienced up to 17 per cent higher levels of bodily inflammation. Worryingly, those in the top third of the group had a 53.4 per cent higher level of inflammation than people in the bottom one-third of the group, who also exhibited inflammation.