A story appeared from the News on my Smartphone. It read, all caps: “Michigan Couple Married 56 Years Die Hours Apart While Holding Hands”. The report states that Judy and Will Webb, both 77 years old, died a few hours apart, first Will (at 2 a.m.) and then Judy, a few hours later. Was the close timing of their deaths a coincidence? If it was just a coincidence, it was certainly a meaningful one.
But I think more was involved than mere coincidence. It turns out that Judy and Will had a very unusual 56 years together. Apart from the longevity of their marriage, according to daughter MaryBeth, Judy and Will were inseparable, and spent virtually every day of their wedded 56 years together—not just in spirit but in body. It’s a bit difficult to imagine and I want to call it a miracle, or at least, a wonder of the natural world. I say this not to be cynical, but to point out that we live in distracting times when holding attention on anything is becoming increasingly difficult.
More than a meaningful coincidence, I think that Will’s unconscious acted on his body so that he could follow his wife even if it meant himself dying. Their mental rapport was more powerful than Will’s immune system. Will was not altogether well, but when Judy got ill, he got seriously ill himself. According to daughter MaryBeth, “everything that happened to her happened to him in another place”. While they were separated physically, Will was unconsciously mimicking his wife’s symptoms. It was the only way they could remain together. It’s also possible that Judy somehow cooperated in reproducing her symptoms in Will. Something seems to have arranged it so Will could die more or less with his wife.
Frederic Myers, the poet and great psychical researcher, believed that the deepest kind of love is a form of exalted telepathy—a mental rapport that can transcend distance, physical obstacles, even death—and so it seems in the story of Judy and Will. There are, in fact, many examples of strange coincidences in the timing that people deploy in making their exit from the world. A favorite of mine is the coincidence that Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on the same Independence Day, July 4, 1826. It was exactly 50 years since the birth of the nation, the two founders seeming to bow to each other as they stepped off the stage of life into history and eternity.
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