Fate may have been unkind to them. The world may have disallowed their union. Conflict could have pushed them apart. But their love prevailed and they are finally united.
It’s a shame that they can only be together in death. Love is an incredibly powerful force that sometimes goes beyond your lifetime.
Here are the stories of five real-life couples, which while bittersweet, are a symbol of devotion to each other even unto death.
1. Together in death
In India, being in a relationship with someone outside your religion or caste can have lethal consequences.
It can result in disapproval, ostracisation and even “honour” killings.
In 2009, a tragic double suicide took place, when a young Hindu man and his Muslim wife took their own lives after their village council ordered them separated.
The two lovers met and fell in love when Lokesh bought some milk that Amreen was selling.
They eloped and were legally married, but the village council of Phaphunda refused to accept it and threatened to kill them if they didn’t separate.
Refusing to bow to pressure, the couple instead killed themselves to avoid separation. Police would later charge the village council for abetting their joint suicide.
2. Sarajevo’s Romeo and Juliet
Admira Ismic and Bosko Brkic, both 25, were high school sweethearts despite the fact that she was a Muslim Bosnian and he an Orthodox Christian Serb.
Despite the difficulty of everyday life after the breakup of Yugoslavia, they were looking forward to spending the rest of their lives together. Then, in 1992, the Bosnian War broke out.
Trapped in the besieged Sarajevo, the lovers decided to risk escaping and fleeing to Serbia.
They took their chance during a ceasefire, but as they were crossing the Vrbanja bridge, a sniper shot them.
Bosko was killed instantly and the mortally wounded Admira crawled to her lover and wrapped her arms around him before dying too.
As the siege was raging on, nobody dared to retrieve their bodies until days later. The two lovers are buried side by side in the city’s Lion Cemetery.
3. The true love story of the Titanic
James Cameron made up a fictional couple for his 1997 blockbuster, “Titanic”, but in reality, there is an actual tragic love story on the doomed vessel.
Isidor Straus, the Jewish co-owner of American megastore, Macy’s, was returning to the United States aboard the Titanic, together with his wife Ida, after a winter holiday in Europe.
The fateful iceberg struck and sealed the fate of the thousands of people on-board.
In the ensuing panic, Isidor stayed with Ida, and when she was offered the chance to escape on a lifeboat, she refused, insisting on staying with her husband.
When Isidor was told to get on a lifeboat, he too refused on the grounds that women and children deserved his place more.
Ordering her maid to save herself, Ida said, “I will not be separated from my husband. As we have lived, so will we die, together.”
As the ship sank, the couple held each other tightly on the deck.
4. The Archduke and the Duchess
The death of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914 will always be remembered as the spark that set off the First World War.
But he has a tragic love story to tell, as he died together with his beloved wife Sophie Chotek.
Their marriage was a loving one, despite strong disapproval from his family. Their relationship was discovered when his pocket-watch was found to contain a picture of her.
Sophie, a lady-in-waiting of Czech noble blood, was considered not worthy enough for the ruling dynasty’s standards. Only two family members attended Franz’s and Sophie’s wedding.
She was banned from accompanying him in public ceremonies and their three children barred from ascending the throne. Despite this, their union of 14 years was a loving one.
In 1914, during a trip to Sarajevo, Sophie sat beside her husband in a car that was targeted by an assassin, Gavrilo Princip. She was shot first and then Franz.
Franz’s last words as he cradled his dying wife were, “Sophie dear, don’t die! Stay alive for the children!”
5. The union of graves
In 1842, a Dutch couple, Jacobus van Gorkum, a soldier, and Josephina van Aefferden, a noblewoman, married. They lived together for a long and happy 38 years before Jacobus died in 1880.
The widowed Josephina wished to be buried together with her husband, but there was a problem.
She was a Catholic and he a Protestant who had been duly buried in a Protestant graveyard. They were not allowed to be buried together.
To circumvent this, she creatively took advantage of the position of her husband’s grave, which was next to the wall in the Catholic cemetery. When she died, she was buried on the opposite side of the wall from him.
Their gravestones have hands reaching for each other over the wall dividing them.