Dying of a broken heart



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Posted on May 18, 2012 at 5:07 PM

Updated Saturday, May 19 at 2:28 PM

The love affair of Erne and Nita James lasted 69-and-a-half years. It is the kind of marriage a fairytale book couldn't do justice.
"I can't picture one without the other, they were truly one," said  Jessica Baldridge, the couple’s daughter.

"My dad loved my mom more than he loved himself," said Regina James, their other daughter.
Erne and Nita were high school sweethearts who gave 100 percent every day of their lives to one another.

In February, life got a lot harder, Nita was diagnosed with a brain tumor, but you'd never know it.

Every morning she had an anthem of hope:  "'Well today I'm great.' She followed that every morning saying, 'I'm super great,'" Baldridge recalled.
But the cancer did not go away.

Erne held tight day after day at her bedside, lying next to his wife, loving her until she passed.

"He always expressed how he hoped they would go together, but if not, he wanted to live just one day longer," James said.
Twenty-six hours later, family members said his prayers came true.

Although healthy, Erne died of a broken heart.

For their children, at first it was shock; then peace as they arrived at the hospital to news they never expected.

"I said, 'Well, we know the routine, we did this just yesterday with our mom,'” Baldridge said. “She said, 'What you may not know is we are transporting your mom right now.' So they go to ride in the vehicle together to their final resting place. And when that happened, we all had so much peace."
Erne and Nita were together until the end.

For better, for worse, not even letting death keep them apart.

E-mail sslater@wfaa.com