He was there when she was born, and he would be there when she died. As 83-year-old Warren Johnson entwined his knotted fingers with those of his wife Alvine’s, all of the memories of their courtship in New Orleans during the 1930s and 1940s came flooding back to him. He sat in the antique rocking chair next to the mahogany four-posted bed where Alvine laid in the bedroom they had shared for 61 years. Warren gazed at the fragile woman before him. Despite her withering features, Alvine’s beauty still astounded him. Her skin was transparent and puffy, and her fine, silvery white hair was receding due to the radiation treatments. Her breathing was broken and ragged, but the sound of her sleeping still brought him comfort after all these years. Most people would look at Alvine and see a sad, dying figure, but Warren still saw the vivacious and spunky woman that he fell in love with and knew so well. She had bright, vivid brown eyes, long, flowing, loose black curls, and a grace that made her movements fluid and beautiful. Although she was unable to speak, he knew that she felt every small touch. He closed his eyes as he silently prayed for God to leave her with him just one more moment. He had never been without her, and the thought of having to live one day without the love of his life weighed heavily on his heart. He opened his eyes and saw the pictures of Jesus and the Virgin Mary that sat on top of the dresser directly across from him, and he lowered his head again to pray, this time for the Lord to take her pain away.