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True Love Never Dies: Devoted Husband Spends 20 Years Sitting at Wife's Grave

Rocky Abalsamo Sat Beside Wife's Grave for 20 Years
Rocky Abalsamo beside his wife's grave in St. Joseph Cemetery in West Roxbury, MA.
Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe/Getty

updated 01/29/2014 AT 02:45 PM EST

originally published 01/28/2014 AT 02:45 PM EST

For 20 years, Rocky Abalsamo sat beside his wife's grave, through every snowstorm and every birthday, to ensure the love of his life was never lonesome. At long last, the loving pair will finally reunite, resting in peace together.

Abalsamo died on Wednesday at the age of 97 and is set to be buried beside his wife, Julia “Julita” Echeverria Abalsamo

Abalsamo's devotion to Julia first received national attention in 2000, when the Boston Globe reported on the husband's ongoing vigil to his wife of 55 years. At that point, Abalsamo had been watching over his partner for seven years; Julia died in 1993 due to complications from heart surgery.

Devastated by Julia's passing, Abalsamo built a routine around her. Each morning he would walk to St. Joseph Cemetery in West Roxbury, Mass., open his lawn chair next to Julia's plot, greet his wife and then stay beside her, without breaks for food or water, until the cemetery closed for the evening. Before returning home, Abalsamo would sprinkle crumbs on Julia's gravesite so the animals would keep his wife company.

"She is part of me, so here I am whole," Abalsamo told the Boston Globe in 2000. "Being here makes me feel better. Not good, but better. I do it for Julita, and for myself."

The story attracted strangers, who quickly became friends. The curious, concerned and lovelorn would stop by to give the man blankets and extra clothes, and help decorate Julia's grave. In exchange, Abalsamo shared stories of his undying romance and helped advise others on matters of love.

Abalsamo maintained his daily visits until 2005, when a death in the family encouraged him to spend more time among his living loved ones. He still continued to visit Julia regularly until falling ill in July of last year.

Following Abalsamo's request, his family will bury him at the left side of Julia's plot, because this was his side when the couple walked together. Now, after 20 years of waiting, Abalsamo and his love are side by side for eternity.

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