For the long 73 years that they were married, Angela and John Molella have shared countless moments together as a couple—even until that day they lie on different beds in the same hospital room, moving slowly, until they draw their last breath.
“John, we grew up together, and now we’re going to die together,” Angela said to her husband as they both lay, dying. And they did. Almost.
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Through a three-minute video shared by the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation in Edmonton, the Molellas’ love story has gone viral online.
The couple’s family decided to share to the world their story, hoping that it would let people know how strong love is and that if doctors couldn’t stop them from dying, at least, with their compassion and care for each other, they can make death a little less painful.
In the video titled “The Difference between Care and Caring,” which was first shared on Facebook and gained more than 350,000 views, you can see two actors reenact John and Angela’s life as a couple, from when they met in 1959 in Italy 70 years ago to when they fell in love and had six children.
It was April 11, 2015, when Angela, who was then 91, was admitted to the Royal Alex hospital. Her condition got worse that the doctors told the family, with John sitting beside his wife, she was likely to die within a day or two.
Not long after the doctors broke the sad news, John fell ill himself. When he had to be admitted, the hospital staff placed him in the same room as his wife of many years, because they believed that was where he wanted to be.
John died on April 22. Angela awakened later on, but her husband was already gone when she did. Weak and struggling to move, she attended her husband’s funeral to bid him good-bye. She died six weeks later, on June 2.
One of John and Angela’s children, Sylvia Molella Parker, said, “It would have been absolutely a tragedy if they couldn’t have been together in those last moments. We were all, of course, very, very saddened that we were going to be losing them both. But at the same time, seeing them together and knowing that they wouldn’t have wanted it any other way, was also one most beautiful experiences we’ve ever had the privilege to be a part of.”
The video was a reminder to the doctors and the nurses in the hospital that what they do can change people’s lives in the most amazing way possible.
Dr. Curtis Johnson, facility medical director at the Royal Alex, said, “It’s reminder of why we went into health care in the first place. Every health-care professional went into it to make a difference to patients.”