When Nancy Burgoin spoke to a nurse this week following her father’s first full day at Granite Ridge Care Community, a long-term healthcare facility in Stittsville, she was surprised to hear he’d spent much of his time in his walker, navigating the hallways.
After all, she says, at 94 and legally blind in one eye, Norman Davis typically leans to a more sedentary lifestyle.
But then she discovered exactly why her dad was out on the prowl: he was searching for his 91-year-old wife, Mae. “He couldn’t find her,” the nurse reported.
Norman and Mae Davis married on June 9, 1945, just a month after VE-Day, vowing then that only unto death would they part. He was 22, she was 19, and that end part probably seemed a lifetime away. Yet now, more than 70 years later and for the first time in their married lives, they live apart.
Sadly, the situation will likely worsen before it improves: because of provincial regulations regarding long-term healthcare facilities, Norman and Mae will remain separated for at least three more months, an absence Burgoin fears her heartsick father may not survive.
The reality of the couple’s possible separation came a week before Christmas, when they were living at a seniors’ residence in Stittsville. A room had freed up at Granite Ridge at the same time Mae’s name — but not Norman’s — reached the top of the waiting list.
Upon hearing the news, Norman, sitting at the kitchen table, said only, “Huh. So this is what society has come to. They’re going to separate us.”