The coronavirus pandemic has been tough on many people across the world. Children across the world are getting restless with most schools being closed, for the middle aged, working from home has been taxing, and for the elderly and the senior citizens, the lockdowns have just brought about more isolation.
But this is a heartwarming story of an elderly couple that is a testimony to the fact that love has no bounds.
Mary Daniel, 57, would visit her 66-year-old husband Steve every single day at his Florida memory care centre. Unfortunately, Steve was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s seven years ago and was subsequently shifted to a care facility in Jacksonville, Florida in July 2019.
And Daniel and Steve followed a set routine – she would spend the evening with her husband, help him get ready togo to bed, and watch some TV together.
“I put him in a memory care center and everything was going really, really well. He was thriving with all the people,” she said. “And in March, obviously everything changed.”
However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, visitors were prohibited from coming in to the centre, and this kept the two apart for 114 days; she last met him on 11th March, after which the facility closed to visitors.
And during their time apart, Daniel tried all other means to keep regular contact with her husband. However, the window visits disturbed Steve because they could not have their conversations. FaceTime did not work well for both of them either.
Unsure of when the centre would open up to visitors, Daniel began getting restless and desperately trying all other means to see her husband regularly.
“Originally, I sent an email to the executive director saying, ‘OK, what do I need to do to get in there? Can I volunteer… can I bring a therapy dog? Can I get a job?'” Daniel told CBS News.
Unfortunately, the isolation was also taking a toll on Steve’s health and behavior. “He actually had an altercation with one of the other residents, and that’s an indicator of the stress,” she said. “I’ve never seen him get in an altercation with anyone.”
One fine day, Daniel received a call from the corporate office of the facility asking whether she would like to take up a part-time job. By this time, Daniel was so desperate that she would take up any job that was offered in exchange for a chance to meet her husband. And what she was offered by the centre was a dishwashing position.
“I told them, ‘I’m gonna be the best dishwasher you’ve ever had, because I want to be here, because I need to be with him,'” she told CNN.
Daniel’s first day at work was on 3rd July. And all her efforts are paying rich dividends because Steve was able to recognize Daniel even with her wearing a mask. Isn’t this just such a wonderful example of true love?
“I walked into his room and he said my name, he said Mary, which was also a relief,” she said. “So when he said, Mary, and gave me the biggest hug, I mean, we both cried.”
Wow! What a touching moment it might have been for the couple!
So, after doing the dishes, mopping the floor, and cleaning the kitchen, Daniel gets to meet Steve.
“It has been such an amazing blessing. I have seen him three times,” Daniel said. “I’m working two days a week — and it is the real deal. It is 100% legit. I had to get a background screening, fingerprints, a TB test, COVID-19 test, a drug test, 20 hours worth of training, a video on everything from food safety to hazardous waste disposal.”
Daniel and the hospital administration have seen a positive change in Steve’s behavior after she has begun visiting him.
“It’s really, really, a very, very difficult situation that so many families are in. And I hope that one of the things this story tells is it’s not just about my success of us being creative… but the plight of so many others that don’t have the blessing I have. We need to find a way. There has to be a better way to do this than complete isolation,” she said.
Yes, we truly hope and pray that other families do not face such harsh circumstances and find a better way to keep in touch with their family members.
What do you think about Daniel’s efforts? Do let us know your views in the comments section below.