Married Michigan couple in hospice had one wish: to go on a date to the Golden Corral

Posted at 1:22 PM, Jul 20, 2023

(WXYZ) — Going out to eat together on a date — it’s something that’s easy to take for granted. But for one local couple, it was their last big wish.

 When Larry and Betty first saw each other, there was magic.

 "When I spotted her, it was like, wow, who is that,” said Larry Crabtree.

 Betty said, “it was love at first sight.” Married 58 years and through raising six kids, the pair was nearly inseparable.

 “Everything we did, we did together. I knew her so long, I can finish her sentence. She’d start to talk, and I’d say OK!” laughed Larry.

 It’s a bond that’s held true, even now with Larry and Betty entering home hospice just a few months apart.

“He has stage IV COPD, I have stage IV COPD and stage IV congestive heart failure, they told me that in November of last year,” she said.

Betty said doctors gave him six months to live and gave her a year.

The White Lake couple is using this time now to spend it with the people they love the most.

“She had bracelets and inside it says ‘remember when,’ so when I come and see her and we have good days and stuff, we have good days, I’ll hug her and say ‘I’m going to remember when,’” said Michelle Hylla, Larry and Betty’s daughter.

But getting around for Larry and Betty is a lot harder these days.

“If we’re lucky, if we’re lucky — once a month we can go with one of the kids to the grocery store, if we’re lucky and feel good enough,” said Larry.

 He talks openly about how he feels when Betty's health takes a turn for the worse and she has a medical episode, making it difficult for her to breathe.

 “It’s the hardest thing, watching the most special thing in your life sitting there suffering, and there’s not a thing you can do,” he said.

 Most of their time is spent around their dining table, playing games, talking to each other.

 “When we get up in the morning, nothing gets done until we sit here and talk with each other, I won’t let her even get up to blow her nose,” he chuckled.

 But there was one big thing they really missed doing together — and that was going on a date.

 So their team at Harmony Cares Hospice stepped in, arranging a date to one of their favorite local spots, the Golden Corral in Clinton Township.

“To celebrate two people that are clearly in love and still in love to this day is amazing to be a part of,” said Randy Greene, regional director of operations, Harmony Cares Hospice.

 When Betty found out, she was shocked.

 “I can’t believe they’re doing this. I appreciate it, we appreciate it so much that they’re doing this so we could go out,” she said.

 And so on this day, Larry and Betty got their wish, sitting down at their special table for two, at their special place, to celebrate their special love.

 “For them to be able to go out together today and have a special date, it will be a memory I will keep forever,” said Michelle.

And a memory to … remember when.

“This is a special day,” said Larry. “This is special today,” echoed Betty.