Last Updated Jun 26, 2020 7:27 PM EDT
The vows say 'til death do us part – but for Terri and Bryan Herrington of Pensacola, Florida, death was just another chapter in a love story that carries on to this very day — 16 years after Bryan died in a work accident.
"They live together in me, so I'll try to keep 'em alive as long as I can," said Jeff Granger.
He received Bryan's kidney. He also gained a friend. After the transplant, Jeff met Bryan's widow, Terri, and her two small children. They all grew close and all was great until last year, when the kidney started failing.
"The first thing that crossed my mind was, golly, how am I going to tell Terri that Bryan's kidney is failing?" Jeff said.
"It was like, 'OK, well, that's another piece of Bryan that has gone,'" Terri said.
Terri said she didn't want to lose her husband all over again — not to mention her new friend. So without hesitation, she offered her kidney, to continue the life-saving mission her husband had started.
By sheer coincidence, they were a match, and the operation at the University of Florida Health Shands Hospital was a success. Now the kidneys – from both husband and wife — lie side by side, together in purpose – all thanks to the silver lining that is organ donation.
"Seeing him going fishing and boating and just living life, it's just an amazing feeling that you're helping somebody," Terri said.
"I never could repay it. If she needed it, I'd give her my right arm," Jeff said. He laughed that he would give her his right arm, even if she didn't need it.
And there's your living, laughing proof – that a truly enduring love story — has no final chapter.