Máire and Gerry Ryan lived a storybook love story. And like a good tale, they lived happily ever after. But even the best of stories must come to an end, and within hours of each other, Máire and Gerry died at the age of 93. The two lovers were born just a day apart. And at the age of 17, they met and proceeded to devote the rest of their lives to each other until the day they died.
Despite their undying love, the Ryans’ life was not always easy. Máire developed Alzheimer’s when she aged, but Gerry refused to leave her side. Through all the pain and suffering, he supported her and dedicated himself to her all over again. And he even “read her love poems at night” to keep their fairy-tale story fresh her in deteriorating mind.
The pair were born in Tipperary and reveled in their eight-decade-long romance. And when Máire developed Alzheimer’s disease, they moved into the same nursing home together.
Their love was an adventure from the day they met at 17 to the day they died at 93.
In that nursing home, they spent their final hours together. Their hospital beds were wheeled together, so they had the chance to hold hands as they passed on from this world.
Because their love was a tale for the ages, people are comparing it to the bestselling Nicholas Sparks novel “The Notebook,” which was adapted into a Hollywood film staring Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling. Their characters share a lifelong romance until McAdams’s character develops dementia, much like Máire did.
The Ryans passed away peacefully on Monday. The nursing home staff and nurses were there to support them in their final moments and ensure they were comfortable. The couple had been at the Curragh Lawn Nursing Home in Co Kildare in the United Kingdom.
Throughout their stay at the home, staff noticed their undying love. And they were inspired whenever they saw Gerry doing something sweet for his wife.
Staff worker Sarrita, said: “Gerry used to hold her hand all the time and remind her of the olden times and their life. He used to orientate her to the present every single day. He would sit and tell her poems, he loved Irish poetry, and he used to sing to her at night. I have never seen anything like that. I am in the nursing home 13 years, and we never saw anything like them. He was so dedicated to her.”
Although the couple met when they were 17, they did not make their love official until they married nine years later. The delay was due to Gerry’s Army career. And they finally went through with the wedding when the Army brought him to Newbridge. When he left the military, he went on to get a Ph.D., which he could never have done without his wife’s help.
Meanwhile, Máire served as a teacher until she retired. Not long after, she received the life-shaking Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Gerry became her full-time caretaker.
But it was too much for him. He soon fell ill and developed severe arthritis that crippled his frail body.
They moved into the nursing home together.
As things went downhill, the pair came together so they could die together.
Máire passed away at 3:45 am and at 5:20 pm that day so did Gerry.