By Caitlin Keating / People
January 27, 2015

Since their wedding 68 years ago, Jack and Nancy Gatewood of Tulsa, Oklahoma, rarely spent much time apart – and that stayed true right until the end. Jack and Nancy died within just a few hours of each other – she on Jan. 15, and he the following morning, according to Tulsa World. The high school sweethearts were both 88. They raised four children together.

Nancy had been hospitalized the last few weeks of her life, dealing with complications from a broken hip and pneumonia. When she died, Jack – who was suffering from dementia and staying at an assisted living facility – died just a few hours later, before his family was even able to tell him the news about his wife.The couple hadn’t spent this much time apart since Jack served two years during World War II. So, when Nancy was in the hospital, Jack didn’t do well.”People at his assisted living facility would find him wandering around, asking if anyone had seen her,” their son, Jack Gatewood II, told the newspaper. “They would tell him where she was. But he had dementia and just couldn’t hold onto the thought.”

Jack technically passed away from cardiac arrest, but his family believes something else was at work.

“We believe it was a broken heart,” Jack II said. “I know that’s old-fashioned to say, that it doesn’t hold up medically. But she had been gone from his life, and we believe he was grieving for her.”

This article originally appeared on People.com.

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