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So close and yet so far apart

Letter to the Editor
Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

I will start this story with a sad turn of events.

On Jan.12, 2017 my sister-in-law, Rita Cunard, became very ill and had to be airlifted to St. John’s to St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital where she fought for her life for the weeks that followed. She made a partial recovery and was returned to St. Anthony Hospital on May 13, 2017 and remained in hospital until Feb. 10, 2018. She then got placement in the John M. Gray Centre in St. Anthony where she remains to this day.

Rita needs dialysis every second day. Because of her close call with death, her kidneys are failing her.

Wallace Cunard, her husband, whose health wasn’t the best before this turn of events, took a turn for the worst. I guess after spending 54 years with a life partner, this turn of events would be hard to deal with, to say the least.

After Rita’s placement in the John M. Gray Centre, her husband Wallace, decided to move to the Shirley’s Haven Home for Seniors on June 4, 2017 to be closer to his wife, and to be able to see her more often. The John M. Gray Centre and Shirley’s Haven Home for Seniors are approximately 300 metres apart. And that is as close as they have come to living together since this ordeal started.

Rita cannot leave the John M. Gray Centre, and because of mobility issues, Wallace cannot get to her. Why are they not together? Who made the policy that keeps them apart? After being together all of their lives, now they are being kept apart by government policies? Rita is too sick to go anywhere else, but Wallace is not sick enough to get a bed in this facility. Who gave someone the right to do this? Certainly not something I voted on, or agreed with. For all the people that are reading this, this is not only a story about Rita and Wallace Cunard, this is a story about you. It may already be happening and if not, it will.

See also: Brig Bay senior couple hoping to be reunited

It is very sad to take your brother to visit his wife and see him cry when he has to leave. The additional resources he would require would be more than offset by his ability to provide dedicated, personalized care to his wife. Does anyone think how much their health would improve if they could see each other daily? If not living in the same room, at least in the same facility.

I say shame on you to the cold-hearted people that think this is acceptable. Shame on you for making good people that have loved each other through so much spend the last few years of their lives apart. These are people that worked, payed their taxes, and are decent, everyday people. Is this how it should end for them?

If this situation could affect you, or someone you know, contact your MHA to find out what is being done about it.

A concerned family,

Terry Cunard

Spruce Grove, Alberta

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