I love a good story – who doesn’t? Which is why when I read the story about the couple at Florence Hand Home in LaGrange, Georgia, I knew I wanted to share it. The person who wrote it on the company’s Facebook page did it perfectly, so I messaged them and asked for permission, and they said, sure.
Get your kleenex.
‘Together for 64 years, separated by COVID-19.
As everyone in the whole wide world knows, long term care facilities are still under strict quarantine. Spouses and families have been separated for the health and safety of our residents. This couple has been separated for over three months now.
She has been in our facility for some time now, while he continued to live at home. Before Covid, he visited her faithfully. Every morning you could see him walking down the hall and heading toward her room. You could hear him helping her put her makeup and jewelry on. Fussing around. Helping her comb her hair.
He spent the rest of the day playing bingo with her, going to different activities. He took his meals with her. He pushed her up and down the halls visiting friends and making new ones. “It helps keep her active”, he said.
“We had always said that if one went into the nursing home, we would both go. But I decided that I could help her more by staying at home and being there during the day.”
But their daily routine changed abruptly. He was now forced to stay at home. He called her often though. “Did you eat your supper?” “How are you feeling?”
He describes how lonesome he was and how much he missed her. He goes on to tell me about some health problems he began having, and he sounded happy about it instead of sad. Those health problems required him to be admitted to the hospital, which in turn allowed him to be admitted to the facility with her. “The Good Lord just worked it out for me”.
After being admitted, he had another hurdle to jump. He had to be quarantined in his room for 14 days, still unable to see her. He continued to call her, faithfully. Our staff would bring her to the phone at the nurses station to answer. When they hung up the phone he would grab his walker and hurry to the door to peek out, trying to catch a glimpse of her.
“You see without her, nothing matters. When you’ve been with somebody that long…..” his voice trails off.
He told me about meeting her in 1954. How they began dating and were married within about a year. I asked him what was different about her. “She was a good worker. She was free-hearted, she would help anybody. Her dad got injured and she went to work at the age of 14. You see, we came up the hard way. And during our marriage, when the going got tough, we just stuck in there better.”
“Oh another thing, we never argued. People think I’m lying. Whenever things started gettin’ a little warm, we would just break it off. I always had the last word though. I’d say yes ma’am.”
Today they were finally allowed to be together. We set up a private meeting for them in our garden. He told us that he wanted to sneak up behind her and surprise her. We got everything set up for them, and backed away to enjoy it from a distance. They were laughing like teenagers but we were wiping tears.
What a treat it will be to have them both with us.’
(c)Story/Pictures Florence Hand Home 2020