Fred Gilland made a promise to his wife on their wedding day that he’d be with her until the end. So every day, no matter the weather, Gilland visits the grave of his wife, Janice.
He’ll spend over an hour at the graveside, talking to his wife and waving to the honking cars as they pass Lynnhurst Cemetery in Knoxville, Tennessee. Occasionally, other cemetery guests and complete strangers will stop to talk, or pray, with the heartbroken and dedicated widower.
The couple’s love story began 51 years earlier. “I just loved her the first time I seen her,” Gilland told WATE in an interview earlier this week. “She was always beautiful.”
At the age of 57, Janice became ill and lost vision in both eyes. More complications from various health issues ended up taking Janice’s life in 2009 at the age of 66.
The death hit Dillard incredibly hard. “I didn’t feel like living anymore,” he admitted during the graveside interview.
Soon after her passing, Gilland made a promise to visit his wife daily, no matter what.
“It makes me feel good. I talk to Jan better over here.”
Gilland shared words of advice to other couples: “No matter how hard it gets, work through your troubles, because it’s worth it to be with that special person.”
Gilland remembers Janice as “a strong woman who loved her family unconditionally.” He also remembers her amazing singing voice.
“Jan may be singing with Elvis,” the 78-year-old joked. “I hope she is. If Elvis hears her voice, I know she’ll be singing with him.”
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