PHOENIX - Over their almost 70 years of marriage, Nana Cruz Moreno and her husband Tata Rafael were only apart once -- when Nana passed away last Monday.
Rafael -- heartbroken, according to his grandson -- passed away just five days later.
“Really embrace life for all it’s worth, because that’s what they did,” said Jason Berumen, the Moreno’s grandson.
The whole family was able tobe with Rafael for a final farewell.
“It was almost like he waited for everybody to be there,” Berumen said, “before he fell asleep for the final time.”
Rafael was a soldier before he became a father and a grandfather.
“He couldn’t tell enough stories about his time in the Korean War, what he learned, and what it meant to be a soldier,” said Berumen. “And what he tells me is what it means to be a man.”
He said Nana and Rafael were always at each other’s side.
“They would fall asleep together holding hands,” Berumen said. “Literally holding hands falling asleep together. You know we'd walk in to check on them and they'd be spooning each other.”
“They knew that their love was strong enough to conquer everything.”
Everything except death.
Berumen said his grandfather had a very hard time with Nana’s passing.
“I don’t want to say he gave up, but it was as if he was lost without her,” said Berumen.
The couple kept every promise to each other, including their vow of “‘til death do us part.”
“It’s pretty spectacular that he wanted to be with her and I think he made up his mind that, ‘I need to be with my wife,’” Berumen said. “It is spectacular that they were able to live a long, happy life together and pass together, and live on together wherever they are today.”
And they left behind a legacy in their family, friends and community.
At the funeral on Friday, the church was standing room only by the time their celebration of life began.
Nana and Tata were buried at a national cemetery in north Phoenix.