ManorCare Health Services – York South and Heartland Hospice serving South Central Pennsylvania helped patient, Ann, celebrate her 73rd wedding anniversary.
Ann, who was admitted to ManorCare Health Services – York with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s and mild dementia, was persistent in asking for an anniversary party as her Heart’s Desire, and the staff at ManorCare and Heartland were excited to make it happen for her. She sometimes forgets that her beloved husband passed away in 2010. Ann and her late husband Burnell, an Army Air Corps Veteran, were married on April 5, 1946 in North Carolina; this would have been their 73rd wedding anniversary.
On April 5, 2019 Ann was surrounded by her friends, staff, her son Thomas, and her grandchildren for her anniversary party. She recounted as much as she could about her wedding day with everyone present. As a special request from the guest of honor, pimento cheese was on the menu. A pimento cheese sandwich is not something she shied away from in her day. To much of the staff and the facility, Ann is a spunky Southern Belle who loves butterflies.
Aside from a glass of wine and a plate of butterfly-shaped cookies, Ann’s table was filled with pieces of her past. Black and white photos captured Ann in her long-sleeved wedding dress with a trail and Burnell with slicked hair and a tux. Those were details that would otherwise be lost to her if it weren’t for the photos. What Ann could remember about her wedding day is something any new bride can relate to: “I was numb…I was so happy,” she said.
With help from Margie Stevens, Heartland Spiritual Care Coordinator, Ann was taken back to those moments of utter happiness when Margie played a special song on her guitar. “Always,” written by Irving Berlin, which was the song that Ann and Burnell danced to on their wedding day. Between the music and food from her youth, Ann was able to celebrate her wedding anniversary.
“She’s a sweet Southern Belle, I always enjoy my visits with her and she’s always positive and happy. She’s been talking about having this party for a long time. So this is something that’s great to make her day, make her week, make her month and help her with her end-of-life dreams. We encourage our patients to live life to the fullest each day,” Deborah Geyer, Heartland Case Manager, said.
“Truly a Heart’s Desire for her. To have a party and have all the people that she’s come to know here, be with her and celebrate with her. She loves people; she’s very social, very engaging and just a gentle soul. She deserves this, absolutely,” Tina Nelson, Heartland Certified Nursing Assistant, said.
Even if Ann lapsed into that reality of not remembering why her late husband wasn’t celebrating with her, the room, filled with family, friends and staff that care about her, was enough to remind her that she wasn’t alone. She has someone – always.
To see the full story on the York Daily Record, click here.