A Canadian couple of 62 years hoped to spend the rest of their lives together. Unfortunately, they can now only see each other every other day due to being admitted into separate nursing homes.
For the last eight months, Wolf and Anita Gottschalk of Surrey, B.C have been forced to live apart. On top of their heartbreaking situation, the Gottschalks must endear tear-jerking goodbyes multiple times a week.
A family member, usually their granddaughter Ashley Bartyik, drives the nearly one hour commute multiple times a week so that her 81-year-old grandmother Anita can see her 83-year-old grandfather Wolf, who has now been diagnosed with lymphoma in addition to his dementia.
“This is the saddest photo I have ever taken. 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!” Bartyik, 29, began her Facebook post on Thursday, that’s been shared over 3,000 times.
“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,” she continued.
Though Wolf’s debilitating mental state “grows stronger each day,” his memories with Anita and his love for her has yet to fade.
“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,” Bartyik shared.
Wolf and Anita’s grandchild urged her friends to share their story so that healthcare authority Fraser Health can reunite the couple.
“Now with the news of cancer, our fight to have them in the same facility is even more urgent. They deserve this! Financially, physically and emotionally exhausted, me and my family are begging for your help my friends. We want justice for my grandparents who after 62 years together deserve to spend their last moments in the same building,” Bartyik concluded her plea.