While driving my son home from his speed skating training a few days ago he asked me if I heard about the couple who have been married for 62 years and were now forced to live apart against their will because they have been put into separate care facilities.
I almost lost my ever loving sh*t and went on a five minute rant about how wrong this is on so many levels, but most of all a human level. You don’t separate a couple who've been married 62 years. You don’t separate a couple who want to be together, period.
Yet here it is, and right here in Canada I might add. Wolfram Gottschalk and his wife Anita have been married for 62 years and apparently there is no care facility in Surrey, B.C. that can accommodate them.
The story came to light when out of frustration Wolfram and Anita’s granddaughter Ashley posted their photo on her Facebook page.
She wrote, “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.”
In the words of our Editor-in-Chief, Jeni Marinucci, “It's just plain wrong. For f*cks sake, squash two beds in a room - use a f*cking closet if you have to.”
But wait, it gets worse. Wolfram has dementia and has recently been diagnosed with lymphoma. Instead of being by his side, his wife Anita is a 30-minute-drive away. It hurts my heart just to think about this so I can’t even imagine the pain they, and their entire family, are going through.
In a day and age when it’s becoming more rare to be married for 60 + years we should be doing everything in our power to ensure that a couple like this lives their last days together, as they clearly want to.
Granddaughter Ashley updated her Facebook page yesterday to say that Fraser Health is moving Wolfram to a facility that is closer to his wife and he is on the top of the wait list to be in the same facility as his wife.
We should all hope this happens because this isn’t about red tape or finances or even space, it’s about doing the right thing on a human level.
I make no bones about the fact that I’m sad when my kids go back to school. Even when they were younger I was the mom who was hiding her tears as she dropped them off at school once again. Yes, they have moment when they drive me crazy and I threaten to sell them to the circus but for the most part, I really enjoy hanging out with my boys.
Yet, I always feel like I’m in the minority. The articles in my newsfeed and the back-to-school ads seem to reflect the parent giddily sending the kids off for another year.
So I thought I’d take a little Facebook poll to see how parents were really feeling about the start of the school year. I asked:
How do you feel about your kids going back to school? Happy / Sad / Mixed Feelings.
Ten people said they were happy.
Four responded they were sad.
But it was the 17 moms who had mixed emotions that made me see it in a new light. Many were sad that the summer was ending but routines would be back in action. Some were sad we would be waving goodbye to a relaxed atmosphere but the kids were excited to start school again (so not my kids).
And then there was our fearless Editor-in-Chief, Jeni Marinucci, who simply said, “Did I tell you about the "air rifle and bag of sawdust in his room" story?”
I’m assuming she’s a “happy he’s going back mom.” (Ed. note: Hard YES.)
It seems the feelings behind back to school are not completely black or white but many shades of grey. Kind of like life.
So whether you are happy, sad, dancing for joy, crying or somewhere in between, take a moment to give yourself a pat on the back that you managed to make it through the summer.
Because in a week you'll be too busy filling out forms to do it.