Prayers For This Elderly Couple Crying
Some photos just stick with you. That’s certainly the case with this heartbreaking photo of an elderly couple crying together. And the story behind the picture, shared by their loving granddaughter, is as sorrowful as the now viral image itself.
Wolfram and Anita Gottschalk have spent 62 years together as husband and wife. And after all that time, the Canadian couple is being placed in separate nursing homes because of backlogs and delays in the healthcare system.
And as you can see, the forced separation left the elderly couple crying and positively crushed.
A Life Spent Together
As the lovely couple aged and their health declined, the two still managed to live independently. But Wolfram (83) suffers from dementia and congestive heart failure. And as his condition grew worse, there was no choice but to move him to a transitional health care facility for professional treatment.
"Grandma has taken pride in taking care of him for years, so it was heartbreaking for her,” said Ashley Bartyik, the couple’s granddaughter.
Unfortunately, a few months later, Anita (81) needed to go to a nursing home as well. And because of the way the healthcare system works in Canada, she was placed in a separate nursing home 30 minutes from her husband’s.
Needless to say, the couple that has been together since 1954 was grief-stricken to be separated. And it didn’t sit right with the couple’s loving granddaughter, either.
The Photo That Broke The Internet’s Heart
During one of Ashley’s visits with her “Omi” and “Opi,” she snapped a picture of the elderly couple crying, posting it to Facebook as the “saddest photo I have ever taken.”
With Wolfram’s dementia, seeing his wife on a regular basis is extremely important. So, Ashley’s mom would drive Anita to go visit with him as frequently as possible — usually every other day. And the meetings were always tearful.
"It's like that every time," Ashley said. "Every time when they first see each other, they cry. Then they generally have a really good time. We bring him snacks. But when it comes time to leave, he wonders why he can't come with us and we have to try and distract him or make up an excuse."
More Bad News
While Wolfram is on a waiting list to be placed in the same nursing home as his bride, time is of the essence. The family recently found out he has cancer, making the separation even more difficult.
“My grandma needs to be able to spend these last few days with him, not worried about when the next time she’ll see him is,” Ashley explained.
Ashley’s Facebook post of the elderly couple crying didn’t take long to go viral.
And Tasleem Juma — a spokeswoman for Fraser Health Authority, the organization responsible for managing assisted living residences — assures the family that getting Wolfram moved as quickly as possible is of the utmost importance.
"One of the challenges with couple reunification is that they don't necessarily need the same level of care at the same time,” she explained. “In this case, the husband's care needs are considerably higher than his wife's. He needs residential care while his wife needs assisted living care. This means we need to make sure the facility can accommodate both their needs.”
And since gaining so much attention online, Ashley reports in a Facebook update that things are starting to look up. The sweet couple is not back together just yet. However, Wolfram was moved to a different facility that is just a few blocks from Anita’s!
With that fantastic news, we ask that you join us in praying these two will be under the same roof soon. May God bless the final time this lovely couple has together. Kudos to Ashley for fighting for what is best for her grandparents!
“You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:32
An elderly man was plagued by loneliness, until he called this radio station!
h/t: GMA Yahoo News