Love is crazy. So crazy that some may think it’s caused by a supernatural force. This is especially true in the story of Leonard and Hazel Cherry. Their relationship was tested by constant relocation and even a world war, but it only solidified their love. After all of that, illness eventually took over and Leonard was put into a nursing home. But it was after that their love look a morbidly odd turn.
Most romances aren’t like the ones found in the movies, but Leonard and Hazel’s relationship definitely was. The two met each other while attending high school in Texas, and they were almost instantly connected. They started out as just friends, but that quickly blossomed into a deep love for one another. Even their friends said they were inseparable. One was hardly ever seen without the other nearby. Love seemed easy for them, but it would be tested after his diagnosis was found.
It didn’t take long after graduating before they realized that they would be spending the rest of their lives together. In 1942, the two were married and vowed to never leave each other’s side. Unfortunately, their lives were thrown into a state of chaos due to a full on world war breaking out. World War II was taking place and Leonard was needed overseas to fight for his country. He joined the Army Air Corps and was stationed at Carswell Air Force Base, which was a long ways away from Hazel.
Leonard was a bomber pilot, and every time he flew his plane, he was knocking on death’s door. Of course, like anyone in love, Hazel was scared for his life. Leonard gained the respect of many of his peers for being an amazing pilot. He was such a good pilot, that he was eventually given the task of training new pilots. Even though he loved his profession, he couldn’t stop missing Hazel.
After two long years, Leonard was able to return to his loving wife. They were undeniably excited to be back with each other, and decided to begin starting their family. In 1944, they welcomed their first child to the world, David Cherry. They always knew they wanted to have a family together, and since the war was over, it was the perfect time to begin. Even though their David was very special to them, they wanted their family to grow.
Since they were bringing children into the world, Hazel and Leonard decided to move to a place much better suited for raising a family. They made the big move from country to city, and landed in Fort Worth, Texas. They looked at Fort Worth with open minds and looked forward to the new opportunities. Thanks to his military training as a mechanic, Leonard was able to open the Cherry Hill auto-repair shop. It didn’t take long for their business to be a success!
Time passed, as it tends to do, and Hazel and Leonard grew older and moved closer to retirement. David grew up, as well, and before too long he moved out of Fort Worth. David even began starting a family of his very own. Since they wanted to be closer to their grand kids, they moved from the city to Woodway, Texas. They were willing to move anywhere, just as long as they got to be near their grandchildren. Unfortunately, their happiness would soon be greatly tested.
Leonard made several visits to the doctor. Sadly, he was given some horrible news. Leonard had dementia. Of course, this news devastated his family. They were heartbroken when they heard his diagnosis, and as Leonard began losing his memory, and suffered speech difficulties, his family felt powerless. The Leonard that his family had known for so long, was slowly disappearing right in front of them. He moved closer to death, but Hazel had a plan to save it.
Having her husband in a nursing home, Hazel knew that she needed to try to make his lasting days as happy as possible. Hazel decided to move into the nursing home with her husband, despite what their family thought. Their rooms were in the same hall, and she made visits to him every day. “She was with him every day and ate lunch with him in his room,” David said. “There was no question that their love was always there.”
Things were starting to look up, but sadly, tragedy struck the family again. In October of 2016, Hazel passed away. “She started getting tired and weaker,” David said of his mother’s condition. David was put into the terribly sad situation of having to tell his dad the unfortunate news. What happens next just goes to show how the world works in mysterious ways. David made the call to the nursing home to speak to his father, but the nurses had something to tell him, as well.
When David called the nursing home, he was given some surprising news. Before he could tell his father about Hazel, David found out that his father had passed away, as well. What an unbelievable coincidence! They couldn’t spend even one night on Earth without their other half. “I’m not sure how it worked, but [Leonard] knew what happened,” he said of the almost supernatural occurrence. “He had a connection. He could feel [Hazel die].”
Hazel and Leonard definitely lived up to their wedding vows of “until death do us part.” The two had spent the entirety of their lives together, and death couldn’t keep them apart from each other either. “They had so much love for each other,” David said of his parents. “No question, they are both up above, smiling. They’ll always be together.” Even though David was touched by the love his parents shared, losing them both in the same day, brought David into a spiraling depression.
David couldn’t stop thinking about his parents’ death. He couldn’t just chalk up their deaths to mere chance. David and his family had come to the conclusion that Leonard had sensed that Hazel had passed the moment that it happened. They believe that he had truly felt his love die, and when that happened, he had nothing to live for, so he decided to stop hanging on, and succumb to death, as well.
Losing a parent is hard to deal with, but imagine losing two on one day. It was obviously difficult for David to cope with, but David found some comfort in the fact that Leonard would never have to live even one day without Hazel. It was rough to watch his father wither away from dementia, but it was just as hard to watch his mother care for him. David is in no way happy that his parents passed, but he is thankful neither one had to watch the other die.
The couple had a joint memorial service, where David gave an incredible speech about the life, and death, his parents shared. “It’s what God wanted, and I think it’s what they wanted too,” he said of his parents’ deaths. “The more I began to think about it, I began to smile because of how much they loved each other. “I feel blessed that Daddy’s suffering is over, and I feel blessed that Mom is with him and that she didn’t have to live alone.”
Even though the deaths of Leonard and Hazel were difficult for their family, some were able to see the silver lining in the sad situation. Craig Hill, the grandson of Leonard and Hazel, saw their passing as proof of the eternal love they shared. “There is no question in my mind that my grandmother was waiting for him in heaven with open arms,” Craig said of his grandparents. Leonard and Hazel lived through some pretty incredible things, but nothing that they went through stopped them from loving each other absolutely.