Larry and Sharon Corsini began their 54-year love affair in 1962 at a movie theater in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Sharon was selling tickets when the handsome Larry, a Massachusetts transplant, caught her eye and her heart. They were married that same year.
In the five decades since, through the colorful chaos of three children, 10 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, Larry and Sharon lived the way they’d always promised.
In the crisp darkness of Dec. 13, sometime between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m., Sharon, 74, fell out of bed. She’d been battling several chronic issues and just three days prior was in the emergency room fighting kidney failure. But after regaining some strength and receiving a blood transfusion, she returned home with her husband.
Though no one is certain what happened next, it’s likely that Larry, 76, woke up when his wife fell and came to help. But in the process of getting from his side of the bed to hers, Larry fell into the nightstand, gashed his head and suffered a massive heart attack.
Hours later, EMTs found the couple side by side on their bedroom floor, Larry’s hand resting tenderly on his sweetheart’s shoulder.
Both were gone.
So while the world might be surprised, their family considers last week’s news to be heartbreaking, but hopeful. Tragic, but timely. Perfectly unlikely, but somehow just perfect.
Their youngest child, named for his father Larry, posted the news on social media and my heart sank. I’ve known the younger Larry since our freshman year at BYU, and we’d stayed in touch as best we could. During a phone call after the funeral, I asked my friend how he was doing, how he’d heard the news and what he thought of their unusual goodbye.
“I’m doing all right,” he said with a trademark laugh I remember well from our dorm’s late-night runs to Taco Bell. “I’m still piecing it all together.”
Larry explained that although their curiosity is real, they’ll never know in this life who went first.
“It’s not important right now,” he said. “I mean, we know dad had a heart attack, and we know neither wanted to go alone. They did everything together.”
When no one answered the door for a visiting niece later that day, calls were made to 911 and the discovery was made. Larry soon got a call from his sister that began with sounds of sobbing and exploded into a phrase he’ll never forget. “We’ve lost them both!”
“I was shocked,” he said. “But then I thought, of course, they went this way. No more suffering and, I mean, they died right next to each other. They were always together in everything they did. They were together in this life for 54 years and now together in passing. They supported each other every step of the way — even to the end.”
Larry also spoke of his gratitude at having no regrets. Though he lived hundreds of miles away, he visited often to cook meals, take them shopping and log priceless time in their living room.
Always a silver-lining thinker, Larry said the passing and double funeral brought together his entire family for the first time in 11 years.
“It’s been nice,” he said. “My sisters and I talked about how important it is to live each day and not take life for granted. To be in touch with parents. To make phone calls. To visit.”
He added tender memories of his father becoming the man of the house at age 10 and beginning to work and drive at 11. “He’s been taking care of people his entire life. It makes sense he was taking care of mom at the end.”
When asked what he would want a global audience to learn about his family’s remarkable experience, he gave a quick nod to service.
“My parents were all about service,” Larry said. “They were quiet, but they loved people by serving people. And they did it all together. We should all do that.”
My grieving friend is right. We should all do that. And we should do it the Corsini way.
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