An elderly couple who have been married for 62 years have been separated for the past 8 months because of delays in the Canadian health care system. CNN reports:
Wolf and Anita Gottschalk of Surrey, B.C, have been married for 62 years. But they were admitted into separate nursing homes and, for the last eight months, have been forced to live apart.
Every other day, a member of their family, usually their granddaughter Ashley Bartyik, drives the 40 minutes so they can see each other. Every time it’s time to say goodbye, there are tears.
A photo of the couple crying as they are forced to say goodbye to one another went viral after it was published online by their granddaughter:
Here’s what their granddaughter wrote about the photo:
This is The saddest photo I have ever taken. This is my Omi and my Opi. As you can see they are both wiping away tears! But why? It was taken in Surrey at Yale road, a transitional facility for people waiting to get into nursing homes, that’s where my Opi is! After 62 years together in marriage they have been separated for 8 months due to backlogs and delays by our health care system, whom have the power to have my grandpa moved to the same care facility as my grandmother. They cry every time they see each other, and it is heartbreaking. To make it worse, TODAY he was diagnosed with Lymphoma. Besides that limiting his time and making this more urgent, His Dementia is growing ever stronger each day, but his memory of my grandmother has not faded a inch…yet. We are afraid however that if they are living apart much longer, his memory of her won’t stay. This has been a strain on our family, making the 30 minute commute to bring her to see him, every second day, so he does not forget her. Now with the news of cancer, our fight to have them in the same facility is even more urgent. He isn’t even getting proper care where he is, including no physical therapy which we were promised (the only reason he is in a wheelchair is because it has been 8 months of no walking!!) They deserve this! Financially, physically and emotionally exhausted, me and my family are begging for your help my friends. We have contacted our local MLA, called Fraser Health and done in person inquiries, but none of our questions and concerns have been answered. We want justice for my grandparents who after 62 years together deserve to spend their last moments in the same building. Please share this and tag anyone that needs to see this post to get the help we need!
It shouldn’t take 8 months to resolve this especially given that this couple may not have 8 months to spare.