A widower in Tennessee has visited his wife’s grave site every day for the past seven years.
Regardless of weather conditions, 78-year-old Fred Gilland makes a daily trek to Lynnhurst Cemetery to spend time with his late wife, Janice.
The two met 51 years ago, and Gilland says he was in love with her straight away.
“I just loved her the first time I seen her,” he told WATE, adding, “She was always beautiful.”
He describes her as a strong woman who had limitless love for her family. She was also a gifted singer.
“She had a voice,” Gilland said. “Jan may be singing with Elvis, I hope she is. If Elvis hears her voice, I know she’ll be singing with him.”
When she was 57, Janice lost her eyesight. After a number of other health issues, she passed away in 2009. Gilland was devastated.
“I didn’t feel like living anymore,” he admitted.
But he chose to live on for her sake. He found that sitting next to Janice’s grave and talking to her helped him cope with his loss.
“It makes me feel good,” he said. “I talk to Jan better over here.”
It’s what he looks forward to on a daily basis.
“I don’t do anything else until it’s time to come out here,” he explained. “I figure the time to come out here and I’ll come sit for an hour, hour and a half and I go back home. Watch TV. That’s it, that’s my life.”
Oftentimes motorists will give Gilland a friendly honk as they drive by the cemetery. And occasionally people will stop by Janice’s grave to pay their respects. Gilland said he appreciates the company.
“They just talk and pray with me,” he said. “A lot of them pray with me and I like that. I like those people.”
Gilland’s story has attracted plenty of attention on social media, mostly from people who say they feel moved by Gilland’s undying love for his wife.
“True love and devotion,” one user commented on WCMH’s story. “We should all be so committed! God bless!”
“Bless his heart,” wrote another. “That’s a man that really and truly loved his wife. He will see her again someday.”
Another reader shared a touching story of her own: “When my Mom died in 2003, my Dad took it very hard. He wore his wedding ring because he said that he promised her to death til they part and the day his ring was removed was the day I sat with him holding his hand when he took his last breath in 2015. And now I wear that ring every day.”