A heartbreaking photo of an elderly couple in tears because they have been separated into different nursing homes has taken the internet by storm.
Wolfram, 83, and Anita Gottschalk, 81, have been married for 62 years, and thought they would see out their final days together – but they are now being kept 30 minutes apart from each other in Surrey, British Colombia.
Their granddaughter Ashley Bartyik said that the picture she took this week of her ‘Omi and Opi’ weeping while they say goodbye to each other was “the saddest photo I have ever taken”.
She also revealed that she or another family member drives the one-hour round trip multiple times a week so that Anita can see Wolf, who has now also 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,” 29-year-old Ashley began her Facebook post, which has now been shared almost 5,000 times.
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“After 62 years 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.
While the decline in Wolf’s mental state “grows stronger each day”, his love and memories of Anita have yet to fade.
“We are afraid however that if they are living apart much longer, his memory of her won’t stay,” Ashley shared. “This has been a strain on our family, making the 30 minute commute to bring her to see him, ever second day, so he does not forget her.”
In her post, the concerned granddaughter urged her Facebook friends to share her story so that the 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,” she concluded.