HOLDEN, Mass. — Their love unfolded in bursts of black and white, in sickness and in health, Chick and Blanche Nylen stayed together.
"He told me many times I don't want to live without your mom," said daughter Tina Queeney.
Chick and Blanche met at a military dance in 1955 when he was in the Navy.
"For some reason, my father didn't have a uniform on so he had a white sweater on, so he stuck out with his black hair and green eyes and she fell in love at first sight," Queeney said.
The feeling was so mutual that the young couple wound up eloping in New York later that year then came back to Massachusetts and settled in Holden where they raised their children Tina and Richard.
"I always felt like I was in the presence of love all the time," said Queeney.
Two years ago, Blanche Nylen fell seriously ill with stomach cancer. Initially, chemotherapy seemed to work.
"She tried the chemo one or two more sessions and she was getting really sick," Richard Nylen said.
Blanche elected to stop treatment and was eventually placed in a Holden nursing home.
Chick ended up at the same nursing home as Blanche earlier this year when bouts of pneumonia left him weakened. Their rooms were about 30 feet apart, but their time together would be short.
On Feb. 2, Chick Nylen died.
The next day, Blanche passed, too.
Tina says it was exactly the way her father said it would happen in a conversation she had with him around Christmas.
"He says, 'You know, I had a conversation with mom yesterday and she's telling me she's ready. She doesn't want to go alone. She doesn't want to go before the holidays,'" she recalled.
"I said, This is not the Notebook. It's not TV. It doesn't usually happen that way. And then he gave me a little wink. He says it's gonna happen," Queeney said.
Maybe there are no guarantees in life, but you get the feeling that when pictures fade, when letters tatter and yellow, somewhere out there, these words will be spoken.
"My dearest Blanche. I love you, Chick."
Forever and ever.
Cox Media Group