His wife died 7 years ago; how he keeps his promise to love her until he dies will give you chills
Posted April 4
Death has a way of causing grief and pain to most everyone in the world, but Fred Gilland doesn’t let these emotions stop him from visiting his wife’s grave every day.
If you drive past the Lynnhurst Cemetery in Knoxville, Tennessee you will probably see Fred, sitting in a lawn chair by a beautifully decorated grave. He might be talking, he might just be sitting, but he is always missing his beautiful wife.
Seven years ago, on Oct. 5, 2009, Fred’s wife Janice died at 66-years-old.
“I just loved her the first time I seen her,” Fred said to ABC 6. Obviously, her death took a toll on Fred.
“I didn’t feel like living anymore,” Fred said, but he made a promise to love his wife.
Their love story may have started 51 years ago, and Fred wasn’t going to let it end.
People took notice of Fred’s continued devotion to his wife. They see the old man sitting next to the grave every day, no matter the weather. Codi Reed once approached Fred and talked to him. She recounted her conversation with him in a Facebook post.
“(Fred) explained that his wife had always been everything that he could ever have hoped for, that his love for her would be with him until he died and into the next life, and that he had made a promise to her the day they got married that he would be with her till the end and that was a promise he was going to keep,” Codi wrote.
So every day no matter what, Fred keeps his promise. When news channel NBC4 shared his story on Facebook, Fred's touching dedication inspired others to share stories of their love.
Diana Smith said “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 [sic] 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.”
Others shared similar stories they observed.
Phyllis Meek said “Growing up a gentleman passed and his wife did the same thing. She would spend hours at the New Marshfield cemetery. .it was beautiful but so heartbreaking. #TrueLoveNeverDies”
And still others shared their memories of Fred’s dedication.
When news channel WATE6 posted a similar video of Fred, Jessica Patterson Timslove commented, “I used to see him when I lived out that way. He truly is there every single morning in his chair beside her grave no matter what the weather is like. I drove by him for like 2 years and he was there every single day. He never missed a day. It is truly is so sweet!!”
Fred is touching hearts around the country, but he also continues to touch the hearts of his living family.
Grandson Marty Stephens Smith said “He's the best person/father/grandfather anyone could ever want!”
Stacie Simpson is a journalism student. She loves listening to, gathering and sharing stories and advice to help others improve their quality of life. She spends most of her free time with her husband, ballroom dancing, reading and writing.