Life, they say, is for the living. That's a way of telling people who are fortunate enough to be alive that they should live life to the fullest, not sit around waiting for death to come. But who is to say the two can't be compatible? Rocky Abalsamo was so dedicated to his wife of 55 years, Julita, that when she died in 1993, he spent every day, all day, at her graveside.
Rocky and Julita first met as teens in a cafe in their home city of Buenos Aires. Rocky reportedly heard Julita talking to her friends about "the soul, life, and goodness" and decided on the spot that that was the woman for him. Hey, watch what you say in cafes. Never know who is listening. Bitching about your coworkers and parents might not snag you a devoted husband!
The couple married a year later and ended up having two children, a boy and a girl. Rocky described his wife as "pure love." They remained mushily in love until her death from surgery complications 55 years later.
Rocky was so distraught that he took up a vigil at her gravestone and stayed there every day, all day, rain or shine, snow or sleet, for the next seven years. With him, he carried a picture of her when she was younger that she had inscribed to him. Then a reporter noticed him and wrote about his unbelievable devotion. Rocky became a minor celebrity.
As for why he spent every day at his wife's grave when he could have been, I dunno, bungee cord jumping -- or at the very least at home watching TV -- Rocky told the Boston Globe:
She is part of me, so here I am whole. Being here makes me feel better. Not good, but better. I do it for Julita, and for myself.
He would even wear the same faded green parka every day -- since this was the one Julita knew best. On special occasions like Julita's birthday, he would toast her with sparkling wine. When he left for the evening, he would sprinkle crumbs on her grave so that chipmunks might come and keep her company. He never wanted his Julita to be alone.
While this is a supremely touching story of spousal devotion -- the truth is Rocky was unfortunately ignoring his living family. And he realized this when his son died in a car crash in 2005. Following that tragedy, his daughter says he began to spend more time with his relatives, including his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and less time at his wife's side.
Rocky died on January 22, having last visited Julita in July. He was, of course, buried right next to her.
So many of us never find love even half this good. These two were incredibly fortunate.
Was his devotion beautiful or a bit too much?
Image via RickPilot2000/Flickr