Couple reunited at Burnbrae Gardens after 14 months

Frank and Jean Trombley shared an outdoor visit, just in time for Jean’s birthday

Burnbrae Gardens resident Frank Trombley and his wife, Jean, had not seen each other face to face since the COVID-19 pandemic began 14 months ago.

But with outdoor visits permitted once again in Ontario long-term care homes, Lauren Farnham, a life enrichment aide at the Campbellford, Ont. long-term care home, organized a reunion for the couple last week, just in time for Jean’s 89th birthday on May 25.

Lauren received lots of help from the people of Brighton, Ont., where she lives, to make the May 24 reunion extra special for the Trombleys.

With COVID-19 restrictions in place provincewide, non-essential items, which include party decorations, are not available for purchase in stores. Lauren turned to the Facebook community in Brighton to ask for help.

The responses poured in.

One offer of help came from Michelle Hopkins, who runs a health-food store in Brighton called Gran’s Cans and Baked Goods. She donated a gift basket that included jams, jellies and cookies. Other people donated party decorations and even a helium tank to inflate balloons.

Lauren picked up birthday flowers for Frank to give to Jean when she arrived. While they had to observe social-distancing protocols, Frank and Jean sat at a table in the shade on the home’s patio for some time to catch up.

Frank, 93, says he’s lost for words when asked how it felt seeing his wife of 42 years for the first time in 14 months.

“I’ll tell you right now, I’ll never forget this for the rest of my life, and I don’t think my wife will ever forget it either,” Frank tells The OMNIway.

“How do you explain how you feel after having not seen your wife for months? It was just tremendous.”

Lauren says it was touching to be there for the couple’s reunion.

“Jean cried; she was so excited, but they were both speechless,” she says. “They enjoyed their time together. They had a fantastic visit. Frank still can’t stop talking about it.”

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