KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Seven years after his wife’s death, a Knoxville man is proving true love lives on. Every day, rain or shine, Fred Gilland visits his wife’s grave site to spend some time with her.
A honk and a friendly wave is what you’ll get from the 78-year-old at Lynnhurst Cemetery. It’s where Gilland has been coming for nearly a decade.
“I just loved her the first time I seen her,” said Gilland.
Gilland’s love story started 51 years ago with Janice. Looking back on their life together, he remembers her as a strong woman who loved her family unconditionally.
“She was always beautiful.”
At the age of 57, she went completely blind. Several health complications also took place, and she passed in 2009.
“I didn’t feel like living anymore,” said Gilland.
But Gilland carried on, to honor her memory. He made a promise to her the day they got married that he would be with her till the end and that was a promise he was going to keep.
“It makes me feel good. I talk to Jan better over here.”
No matter what the weather is, you’ll see Gilland perched alongside her grave, sharing stories of the past.
“She had a voice,” said Gilland. “Jan may be singing with Elvis, I hope she is. If Elvis hears her voice, I know she’ll be singing with him.”
His journey to the cemetery has become a daily routine.
“I don’t do anything else until it’s time to come out here. I figure the time to come out here and I’ll come sit for an hour, hour and a half and I go back home. Watch TV. That’s it, that’s my life.”
While it seems like a simple task to him, many people have come to know the man, sitting by the grave.
“They just talk and pray with me. A lot of them pray with me and I like that. I like those people.”
Gilland has some words of wisdom for couples still together. He said no matter how hard it gets, work through your troubles because it’s worth it to be with that special person.