“In the quiet of Monday morning, September 14, I looked at his face and listened to the tiny sips of air he was taking. There was something delicate, childlike about it. I knew it was time. I didn’t want to leave the room… I lay back at Buddy’s side, I held his hand and felt his pulse again … was it? … was it? And then he didn’t breathe any more,” Lisa Niemi wrote about her husband, Patrick Swayze’s final moments, according to the Daily Mail.
Patrick Swayze and Lisa Niemi shared the kind of love that people crave for. He was 19 and she was 15 when they first met, and they grew up together, side-by-side, sharing a wonderful marriage of almost three and a half decades. Swayze and Niemi found in each other their true soulmates, and ever since they tied the knot on June 12, 1975, the two made it through life’s best and worst, including a brutal battle against cancer, by each other’s side.
Calling their marriage “extraordinary”, Barbara Walters said about the couple, “The way he looked at her, the way he held on to her, the way she smiled, I can’t really imagine one without the other,” People reports.
Although the couple became inseparable, Niemi had to let go of her husband after his 21-month-long fight against pancreatic cancer came to an end. “When you lose someone, you never stop loving them and it’s– I feel like I have a different relationship with him now,” Niemi told ET. “It’s just, he’s not physically present, you know what I mean?”
The loss that she felt weighed so heavy on her after his death, Neimi could still feel her late husband’s hand holding hers even after his untimely death at 57. “…The kind of grief I experienced after Patrick was gone was literally on a cellular level. It’s something deep inside your body that you have no control over. I can still feel the contour of his hand in mine,” she said, according to Redbook. “Sometimes when I’m driving on the freeway, I feel like I can just look over and see him sitting beside me like he did when I would take him to his chemo treatments. I’d put the pedal to the metal in our car and he’d break out into this big, mischievous grin. And I’d reach over and grab his hand and it was wonderful. Even though we’d be on our way to chemo, we both savored those moments.”
After spending so many years together, doing certain things become a natural habit for a couple. One thing that Niemi used to do every time she traveled by air was text Swayze. She couldn’t stop herself from texting his number again when she boarded a flight 10 months after his death. “I just put what I always did: ‘I love you,'” Niemi recalled. “And then I cried for a little bit to myself.” She thought the message wouldn’t be delivered and would be sent back to her “but it didn’t come back,” she continued. “So either somewhere out there he received it, or someone’s going, ‘Somebody loves me!’ And you know what? I figured it was a win-win situation.”
The relationship that Swayze and Niemi had was one that was admired by people across the world, not because they didn’t have problems, but because they stuck by each other despite them. “No relationship is perfect, you hang in there and you don’t give up,” Niemi said, according to womanmagazine.co.uk. “And of course you are going to have bad times. I would be with Patrick a million times over if I could — warts and all.”
They gave each other some of the best years of their lives, but there is still one regret that Niemi carries with her after his death. When she spoke about her grief at an event in California, she said, “My regret is that I didn’t tell him that I loved him enough over that entire 34 years.”
“We told each other we loved each other over and over again,” she shared in an interview with The Times. “I never left the room without telling him. It still didn’t feel like enough.”
Years after Swayze’s death, Niemi decided to take a “leap of faith” and tied the knot with Albert DePrisco. But there will always be a place in her heart for Swayze, the man she spent so many decades in love with.
“Albert knew I still loved Patrick and would always love him, and told me, ‘and I know you love me, and I love you’… About a month and a half ago, I had a dream about Patrick,” she said. “It was like he was giving me his blessing and letting me know it was okay. Again, it can be hard sometimes to take those steps forward, but it doesn’t change the way we feel about someone. He was letting me know that.”