Alexander and Jeannette Toczko had a dying wish as longtime husband and wife: The two ninetysomethings wanted to spend their final days together.
Their children helped fulfill that request, and the elder Toczkos passed away while holding each other in bed last month — less than two weeks before their 75th wedding anniversary.
The couple was known as Al and Jay, according to U-T San Diego, and they had been in love since they were 8 years old.
They married in 1940, and Alexander served in the U.S. Navy as a telegraph operator during World War II, a joint obituary said.
Later, in the 1970s, the pair moved to San Diego.
Alexander Toczko, 95, was a regular at the Balboa Golf Course until last month, when he broke his hip in an apparent fall and his health began to fade, his son told KGTV.
“He was going fast,” said Richard Toczko, who along with his siblings remembered that his parents had always said they wanted to be together, holding hands, as they reached the end of their lives.
To that end, hospice workers brought a bed into their home and set it up alongside the bed of 96-year-old Jeannette Toczko, KGTV reported.
Aimee Toczko-Cushman said her mother “kept asking us: ‘What is today? What is today?’ We said it was June. She said, ‘It’s June 29′” — the day that marked 75 years of marriage.
Although the couple’s diamond anniversary actually had not yet arrived, their family members decided to buy balloons and flowers and celebrate anyway.
Jeannette Toczko was thrilled, but her husband’s condition was rapidly declining.
“You could could see a change in his breathing,” Richard Toczko said.
About thirty minutes passed. A hospice nurse marveled at the sight of the spouses taking their last breaths together.
Richard Toczko knew his mother “wasn’t going to last much longer.”
Then Alexander Toczko died in the arms of his wife — “which is exactly what he wanted,” his daughter said.
“I went in there and told my mother he was gone,” she continued. “She hugged him and she said [to him]: ‘See, this is what you wanted. You died in my arms and I love you. I love you. Wait for me. I’ll be there soon.'”
Recounting the moment in an interview, Richard Toczko simply said, “It was tough.”
His mother died about 24 hours later and his parents “both entered the pearly gates, holding hands,” he said.
Alexander and Jeannette Toczko were buried Monday morning at Miramar National Cemetery.