(KTLA) – The final wish of a former United States Marine who is suffering from terminal cancer may be fulfilled after a public appeal to be buried next to his beloved wife, who is also nearing her last days.
War veteran Samuel Leon and his wife of nearly 40 years, Marta, who is also terminally ill with liver disease and dementia, made their emotional plea in a family video just a few weeks ago.
On Thursday, the couple’s son, Samuel Leon Jr., along with his mother, rushed to Torrance Memorial Medical Center in Torrance, California, after doctors alerted them that Leon Sr. may only have days to live.
Leon Jr., an only child and a veteran himself, has been fighting to fulfill his parents’ wishes to share a final resting place, even starting a GoFundMe to help raise funds as their time runs out.
This is because Leon Jr. said he was initially told that none of California’s veteran cemeteries would take his mother since she was not married to his father while he was in the service.
He told Nexstar’s KTLA that his only other options were burying his parents at a non-military or non-veteran cemetery, which he couldn’t afford.
When asked why it’s so important to his parents that they be buried together, Leon Jr. didn’t hesitate.
“They made a commitment to each other, because they spent their life together and they want to spend their afterlife together,” he said.
Just before the Leons’ story aired, Nexstar’s KTLA heard from the Los Angeles National Cemetery and Riverside National Cemetery deputy director, who said if Leon Sr. passes before his wife, the couple will be allowed to be buried at one of their cemeteries and that most of the burial expenses will be covered. The official added that the family was initially given misinformation regarding burial practices.
Leon Jr. and his mother left the Torrance Hospital on Thursday not knowing if they will ever see Leon Sr. alive again, but they now know that their bittersweet goodbye will end with his final wishes fulfilled.