THEY were inseparable in life and will be inseparable in death.
Those are the words of a heartbroken daughter who saw her mother and the man she thought of as her step-father die within days of each other.
Jean Hague and Dave Gilbertson, from Gosport, died on June 21 and June 27 – after 25 years together.
They were never married but were devoted to each other and their family, Jean’s daughter Stephanie said.
In a poignant ceremony the pair will be remembered at a joint funeral.
Jean’s daughter Stephanie said her mum’s death , from a sudden heart failure, came as a big shock to the family.
She said: ‘Of the two, it was Dave that was unwell – my mum was in fairly good health.
‘Dave had two strokes around the Christmas period, but was still in relatively high spirits.
‘When we told him about mum’s death, the sparkle just vanished from his eyes.
‘I think that it was probably the final straw for him – we were all absolutely heartbroken.’
Dave died after suffering from pneumonia, which the family has attributed to his old age.
Stephanie said the couple were well-known in the Gosport community.
Jean, 79, worked at Radio Haslar, taking part in one of its 24-hour marathon broadcasts.
Throughout their 25 years together, the two remained as close as they were on their first meeting.
Stephanie said: ‘They were both incredibly compatible with one another.
‘Mum and Dave both loved a drink and went out together most evenings.’
‘In fact, they did pretty much everything together – they were totally inseparable.
‘Mum enjoyed flower arranging, and did that as much as she could.
‘She was a member of one of the local societies and helped out at Gosport Flower Show.
‘They spent most of their lives in Gosport and really were made for each other – we all miss them dearly.’
Stephanie said that both sides of the family have rallied together following the couple’s deaths – making the bond between all of them significantly stronger.
She added: ‘For them to pass away within a week of each other hit home for us all. We have had a new introduction to the family – my grandson was born the day after mum died, so it has been quite the emotional rollercoaster.
‘We’re all even closer than we already were as a result of what has happened.’
The family has arranged for Jean and Dave, 83, to have a joint funeral.
Stephanie explained: ‘The first thing we said when we all sat down together was that it should be a double funeral. It seemed like the logical thing to do.
‘Even now, while we are waiting for the funeral, they are being kept side-by-side; we know that this is exactly what they would have wanted, and it gives the rest of us peace of mind as well.
‘We hope we can give them both the send-off that they deserve.’
Jean and Dave leave behind five grandchildren and the one great grandchild, who was born between their deaths. Their joint funeral will be held at 3pm on Wednesday, July 12 at Portchester Crematorium.