Wolf and Anita Gottschalk have been forcibly separated for eight months, leaving a ripple of broken hearts across the internet.
The Gottschalks have been married for 62-years.
When they were told they must enter separate nursing homes due to lack of space, they were forced to say goodbye.
Their granddaughter, Ashley Bartyik, snapped a photo of their tearful last moments together and posted the image to her Facebook page, where she wrote: “Friends please read! This is The [sic] saddest photo I have ever taken.
“This is my Omi and my Opi. 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!
“After 62 years together in marriage they have been separated for 8 months due to backlogs and delays by our health care system, whom [sic] have the power to have my grandma moved to the same health care facility as my grandmother.
“They cry every time they see each other, and it is heartbreaking. To make it worse, TODAY he was diagnosed with Lymphoma.
“Besides that limiting his time and making this more urgent, His Dementia [sic] is growing ever stronger each day, but his memory of my grandmother has not faded an inch…yet.
“We are afraid however that if they are living apart much longer, his memory of her won’t stay. This has been a strain on our family, making the 30 minute commute to bring her to see him, every second day, so he does not forget her.
“Now with the news of cancer, our fight to have them in the same facility is even more urgent. He isn’t even getting proper care where he is, including no physical therapy which we were promised (the only reason he is in a wheelchair is because it has been 8 months of no walking!!)
“They deserve this! Financially, physically and emotionally exhausted, me and my family are begging for your help my friends. We have contacted our local MLA, called Fraser Health and done in person inquiries, but none of our questions and concerns have been answered.
“We want justice for my grandparents who after 62 years together deserve to spend their last moments in the same building. Please share this and tag anyone that needs to see this post to get the help we need!”
The image and message was posted to Bartyik’s Facebook wall on Tuesday and has since been shared over 5,400 times.
Many offered condolences and prayers while one person claimed to have written a personal message to the mayor of Surrey.
Others tagged local news stations in an effort to spread the word. The unanimous hope was to get as much coverage as possible to encourage Fraser Health to put the couple in the same nursing home.
On Wednesday, Bartyik posted an updated, explaining Fraser Health is claiming to be working closely with the family to ensure Wolf is moved but “we have not received one single phone call from them in the past 8 months that this has been going on.”
Please pray for a resolution and for God to move the hearts of those in charge. For the Lord, nothing is impossible. Pray for divine encounters and coordination to enable the Gottschalks to live out their remaining days reunited and in each others’ comforting presence.