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Not even death could stop one man from eating lunch with his wife every day.

Clarence Purvis and his wife Carolyn used to eat lunch at Smith’s Restaurant in Reidsville, Georgia six days a week. That was until Carolyn passed away.

“They were unbelievable,” restaurant owner Joyce James told CBS News. “I mean you could tell that they adored each other.”

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Despite his wife’s passing, Clarence refused to give up the lunch tradition that was so special to him and Carolyn.

“She’s a perfect wife if ever been one,” Clarence said. “Ain’t nobody loved one another more than we loved one another. Everybody said that.”

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elderly man sitting alone on a bench
Photo by Bruno Martins on Unsplash

At the age of 93, Clarence would start off his day by visiting his wife’s grave. He would kneel down to give her a kiss before heading to Smith’s for lunch. Once seated in his booth, he would take out a photo of his wife and sit across from it.

“Baby, I wish you could go home with me. I’d trade places with you,” he would tell her picture.

Clarence and Carolyn had been in love since 1948, when they first met.

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“I wanted what she wanted and she wanted what I wanted,” Clarence told WTOC 11.

Unfortunately, Smith’s Restaurant closed, but even that didn’t stop Clarence. Instead, he just found a new restaurant to enjoy with his wife.

“We tried to cook for him or take him, nope. It wasn’t nothing but the Dairy Queen,” his daughter Dianne Knight said.

After his meal, Clarence would head home where a lamp would be on, no matter the time of day. This lamp is always lit to remind Clarence of the eternal flame of love between him and Carolyn.

“This here, that lamp ain’t never turned off, not since she came out of the hospital five months before she passed,” Clarence said. “That light was turned on and it ain’t never been turned off.”

A picture taken of Clarence eating lunch with his wife’s picture went viral, and their love story was picked up by the media.

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elderly couple holding hands
Photo by DLKR on Unsplash

The love the world got to see between Clarence and Carolyn was the constant state of their household, according to their children.

“That was the environment we grew up in all our life,” their son Dale Purvis said.

Last year, in 2021, Clarence passed away. His children are grateful their parents’ story was told while their father was alive.

“That’s what this world needs today. The kind of love that they had for one another,” said Dianne.

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Even though they miss their father, they are happy he is reunited with Carolyn in heaven.

The pictures of him after momma passed, you hardly saw him smile. As opposed to when we had pictures of him before. But now he’ll be smiling all the time.

Dale Purvis

The love between Clarence and his wife was unconditional. No obstacle — not even death — could make his affection for her waver. Love like that has the power to light up a room, like Clarence’s very own eternally-lit lamp.

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