WRIC – RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Meet John and Bernice Mullins, who are shown in picture on Facebook holding hands at Johnston Willis Hospital, both in hospital beds.
The two wound up just a couple rooms away from each other after being admitted to the hospital for surgery, almost a week apart.
"They rolled her bed into his room and they held hands for a couple of hours I think… just holding hands.", says the Angie Gaines, the couple's granddaughter.
Bernice and her WWII veteran husband John, now both in their 90s, are about to celebrate 71 years of marriage, and their living legacy is impressive to say the least.
Between them, the two share six children, 16 grandchildren, 41-great-grandchildren, and 13 great-great-grandchildren.
However, we're told the decades-long relationship hasn't always been a walk in the park.
"My grandfather was a little bit of a wild child, and that's when they actually separated 30 years ago. but they never divorced, they never move away from each other, they lived side by side… they actually got along better that way, but they were always there for each other.", says Gaines.
She says that her grandmother was restricted to a wheel chair for 30 years due to diabetes. Even though her grandparents didn't live together, they still took care of one another.
Gaines says, "He would do her shopping and she would pay his bills. The love never went anywhere."
Now, John has been diagnosed with prostate and lung cancer and Bernice recently lost her leg to her diabetes, but together, the couple is still going strong.
Their daughter, Sandy Holt, hopes people will take away from her parents example, the true meaning of marriage.
"People these days jump into marriage too soon maybe. and I think in the back of their mind they always say well if it doesn't work out we can always get divorced. that's not the way it was intended," Holt said. "It was intended to marry this person and become as one as the Lord said and be as one person spiritually. And even though they were apart physically, I feel like they were always together spiritually.
"I just pray that that's how my marriage goes and that god blesses me to live a long life to be like that. They've always stuck together."