Romantic Husband Keeps 39-Year Valentine's Day Tradition Alive for Wife with Dementia
A romantic husband from Texas has bought his sweetheart's favorite chocolate candy every Valentine's Day for the past four decades—and he's never missed a year, even while she's been in an assisted living facility with dementia.
Ron Kramer first met his wife, Donna, when he knocked on her door while selling insurance on January 2, 1979. Ron told ABC affiliate KOAT that when Donna came to the doorstep dressed in a robe and Big Bird slippers, and it was enough for him to come back a few days later to invite her and her daughter on an outing.
"I was really sexy!" Donna made sure to tell KOAT.
As they got to know each other, Ron asked Donna (months in advance) what kind of candy she wanted for Valentine's Day. Donna told him she liked the dark chocolate cremes from Buffet's Candies, and Ron went off to the Albuquerque area shop.
Once there, the clerk told him if he kept the box and brought it back the following year, he'd only have to pay for the candy.
The couple married just five months after meeting, KOAT reports, and since then, Ron, 77, has made sure to keep his Buffet's box nice and safe in its hiding place in his closet all year, only to retrieve it once February comes around.
"That's why I'm going to keep him. He's a keeper," 74-year-old Donna told the news station. "I married him years ago, and I love him as much today as I did then."
Donna makes sure not to indulge in all of the chocolates in one sitting though—she limits herself to one chocolate a day, and it usually lasts her three months until May (just in time for their anniversary!). Ron is now paying some $41 for the chocolates, up from the $13 he coughed up back in 1979. But he doesn't mind, as long as it makes Donna happy.
"It's awful good candy," Ron told KOAT. "It's worth every dime of it."
After facing a flurry of health problems in recent years, such as a stroke due to an aneurysm and two battles with breast cancer, Donna was diagnosed with dementia in 2014 and moved into an assisted living facility a year later. While Ron says it was the "saddest day of his life" watching his wife move out, he's visited her every day since, bringing along small gifts such as a bottle of Coca-Cola, fruit and gum. Of course, their Valentine's tradition has stayed strong.
"I made a commitment, and the commitment's gonna be for the rest of our lives," Ron told KOAT. "I've been with her. I'll never leave her."
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Donna still has her longterm memory, as of now, but the disease will worsen over time. Ron keeps that in mind every day.
"She's going to forget who I am," he told KOAT. "So enjoy every minute you can have with them while they still remember you."