REIDSVILLE, Ga. (ABC News) — 93-year-old Clarence Purvis can be found every week eating lunch at a diner with a picture of his late wife. He’s been doing it ever since she died in 2013.
Clarence’s story has been making the rounds on social media recently. But it’s the story behind the picture that makes it so unforgettable.
Clarence met his now-deceased wife Carolyn in 1948 when she was just 16. The two married the next year and would spend the next 63 years together, building a family and love like few get to experience.
For the past 13 years, Clarence and Carolyn have eaten at Smith’s Restaurant in Reidsville, Georgia.
“Ain’t nobody loved one another more than me and my wife loved one another,” Clarence said. “I wanted what she wanted and she wanted what I wanted.”
In October 2013, Carolyn stopped coming with Clarence, but Clarence wasn’t ready to give up on his partner.
“She was always with me when we were livin’. She’s with me now.”
Ever since, Clarence has come daily to the restaurant along with his wife’s picture, sitting at his favorite table and enjoying the daily special.
“He’s a part of this restaurant. He is a part,” says Joyce James, the restaurant’s owner.
James said Clarence has touched her and hundreds more who have been through the restaurant over the years.
“I asked my husband, I said, ‘You know if something happened to me, will you put my picture on the table?’ He said, ‘I don’t think so dear.’ He said, ‘I love you but, that might be a little much,’” James said.
Some have tried to convince Clarence he is just lonely and that he should try to find someone new.
“They said if I get me a girlfriend things will be better,” Clarence explains. “I could ask her, could I get me a girlfriend? You know what she’d say? If you want too. That’s how we operated.”
Clarence knows that some may think his way of grieving is extreme, but he said true love never has a happy ending because it never ends.
At her gravesite, he gets on his knees and kisses the tile portrait of his wife attached to the headstone.
“I love you, baby. I wish you could go home with me. Come on let’s go. You can’t go or you would, wouldn’t you? I would stay in your place.”
After all, he said being someone’s first love is great. But being their last is even better.