When death came, they were together, and that's all that really mattered.

Through 73 years of marriage, Angela and John Molella were inseparable.

They shared everything. Including, at the end, a hospital room.

As they both lay dying, she looked over at her husband and said: "John, we grew up together, and now we're going to die together."

They almost did.

Their love story is now being shared online, in a video put out by the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton. It's a story their family hopes will help illustrate two rather simple lessons: that love endures, that it ennobles, that it inspires; and that while doctors and nurses cannot conquer death, they can make it easier through their caring and their compassion.

A video with two actors portraying the Molellas already has more than 350,000 views on Facebook.

It's easy to see why.

"We all feel it's an absolutely beautiful tribute to our parents," said Sylvia Molella Parker.

The story of this remarkable couple began in Italy more than seven decades ago, when John and Angela met fell in love. They came to Edmonton in 1959 and eventually had three sons, three daughters, 18 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.


Angela and John Molella out for a walk together back in 1973. (Supplied)

Angela was 91 and gravely ill when she was admitted to the Royal Alex hospital on April 11, 2015. John was by his wife's side when doctors told the family Angela would likely die within a day or two.

"He asked me at one point, 'So, there's no hope for your mom?'" said Molella Parker. "And I felt like I couldn't not tell him the truth at that point."

The next day, John himself fell ill. He was rushed to the emergency room in the same hospital, where staff recognized him and understood at once where he most needed to be.

After John, 92, was admitted, he was taken upstairs and put to bed in the same room as his wife.

They shared that room for the next 10 days.

John finally died on April 22. Angela, by then, was unresponsive.

After he was gone, she awakened, and the family had to break the news.

Though she was too sick to attend her husband's service, the family hired a private ambulance to take Angela to the funeral, so she could say goodbye.

She died on June 2.

Dr. Curtis Johnston

The video about the Molellas was made to remind staff members just how much difference they can make in people’s lives, says Dr. Curtis Johnston, facility medical director at the Royal Alexandra Hospital. (CBC)

"It would have been absolutely a tragedy if they couldn't have been together in those last moments," Molella Parker said. "We were all, of course, very, very saddened that we were going to be losing them both. But at the same time, seeing them together and knowing that they wouldn't have wanted it any other way, was also one most beautiful experiences we've ever had the privilege to be a part of."

The hospital made a video, using actors to play the dying couple, to remind staff members just how much difference they can make in people's lives, said Dr. Curtis Johnston, facility medical director at the Royal Alex.

"It's reminder of why we went into health care in the first place," he said. "Every health-care professional went into it to make a difference to patients."

Molella video still

Two actors stood in for Angela and John Molella in a video produced for the Royal Alexandra Hospital. (Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation)