The coronavirus pandemic has caused people to change their daily habits. People are (or at least should be) staying home, if possible, and they’re practicing proper “social distancing.” However, what happens if you have a loved one in a nursing home? You’re not allowed to visit, which could be incredibly heartbreaking.
Just ask Bob Shellard, who wasn’t allowed to visit his wife at her nursing home on their 67th wedding anniversary on March 14, 2020. But this didn’t stop Shellard from celebrating their anniversary together. He stood outside her window, holding a sign made just for her. This sweet gesture went viral on social media, and people now believe there is faith in humanity (and true love!) after all.
A Doting Husband
Shellard, 90, has been a doting husband to his wife, Nancy, 88, for the past 67 years. The Vernon, Connecticut couple met in the 1940s when he visited the small dairy shop she worked at while he was waiting for the bus. The couple has four children, nine grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. They have celebrated many highs and lows, but they have always been a united force.
They have done everything together. Even when Nancy had to be moved into a nursing home after being diagnosed with dementia in December 2019, Shellard has made an effort to visit her as often as he could. “I just miss her now that she’s in the nursing home,” he said.
No More Visits
However, no one could have prepared for a global pandemic like the coronavirus. The pandemic has limited visitations to nursing homes and retirement facilities. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, elderly adults and people with underlying conditions are at an increased risk of contracting the deadly illness. Most of these individuals would be living in nursing homes.
This results in a new rule: no more visits. Shellard hasn’t been able to visit his wife in person since the pandemic outbreak has spread across the U.S. But on the day of their 67th anniversary, Shellard took matters into his own hands and decided to celebrate their anniversary in a special way.
Sign of True Love
Shellard went to his wife’s nursing home on the day of their anniversary and he stood outside her window. He held up a sign that read: “I’ve loved you 67 years and still do. Happy Anniversary.” Cue the tears.
“He was so proud of the sign,” the couple’s daughter, Laura Mikolajczak, said. “He kept asking, ‘Do you think she’ll be able to read it?’ He was thrilled.”
“It makes me feel bad because I want her down with me and I know she can’t be,” Shellard added. “I wouldn’t want anybody else. I don’t think she could put up with anybody else besides me.”
Heartwarming stories like these are made to go viral on social media. It didn’t take long after the story was shared by Good Morning America and NBC New York for other people to recognize it. The story has garnered over 266,000 likes on Twitter, and social media users can’t get enough of the sweet story.
One user (@keenanls) commented, “This brought tears to my eyes. What a loving husband and a great human being.” Another user (@IceEmpress2) said, “God bless you, Bob. Your wife is lucky. This breaks my heart. My husband is my best friend. I cannot imagine being separated from him.” Finally, the user (@JasonCoolman) reflected, “The human impacts of this virus are so wide. Be thoughtful and kind, folks, as we’re in this together. More important, help one another. I hope Bob’s sign was seen by his wife and that he’ll be able to video call, etc. Man, my heart breaks for stories like this one.”
Luckily, Nancy was able to go to the window and see the sweet sign from her loving husband. She waved and blew kisses at him. This may not have been how they wanted to celebrate their anniversary, but it was still special.
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