Theres no doubt that we are living in unprecedented times. Between the elections, civil rights protests, and a worldwide pandemic, things are pretty gloomy. The pandemic has affected a lot of families in different ways, from losing someone close, to going months without seeing your relatives, to being cooped up inside the house with others, everyone is going through it.
The population that has been hit particularly hard is the elderly. Retirement homes have been forced to close their doors to visitors, making it extremely difficult to visit loved ones in places like these. But this isn’t a sad story about someone losing their loved one to this, its about how far one man will go to show his wife how much he loves her.
93 year-old Jack Eccles would make regular visits to the nursing home where his wife Gerry lived to eat with her and take care of her as best as he could. She suffers from Alzheimer’s and he wanted to spend every moment with her he could, reminding her what they had before her disease.
“We’re married,” he said in an interview. “I want to be with her. She took care of me for 70 years and now it’s my turn.”
In march he went to visit his wife one afternoon and the retirement home turned him away. They weren’t risking having any visitors in the building, no matter how regularly they came. That didn’t stop Jack, he knew exactly what he had to do.
Without hesitation Jack went home packed a bag before making his way back to the retirement home. He showed back up at the center’s door asking to rent a room.
The staff knew who Jack was and they were as accommodating as they could be despite being in lockdown. He was to stay in his or his wife’s room and only allowed to be in the lobby certain times of the day. He admits to his stay being lonely, but it’s important that he’s there for his wife.
What Jack was most worried about was that she would stop eating, or get worse in his absence. Now that he’s with her everyday, the staff have noticed a change in Gerry. “That’s something we can’t do,” said one of the staff members.”We haven’t been with her for 70 years.”
With Jack staying at the nursing home with her, the couple recently was able to celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary. Jack was glad they could be together and happy to see their 9 children, 20 grandchildren, and 24 great-grandchildren waving and sending their love from outside the facility.
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