93-Year-Old Moves Into Nursing Home With Wife: 'She Took Care of Me for 70 Years'
'They were never apart — and that wasn’t going to start now'
Jack and Gerry Eccles celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary, which saw some of their nine kids, 20 grandkids, and 24 great-grandkids in attendance.
But celebrating such a significant milestone was not so comfortable being in lockdown inside Hillcrest Convalescent Center.
The couple’s daughter helped orchestrate the Zoom conference by holding up an iPad outside the window as the couple sat in the lobby and ate their cake.
Jack relayed as a special message during the event.
“Mommie said something,” he told The Wall Street Journal.
“I’m sure it was, ‘I love you guys.'”
But as the center where Gerry lives shut down on March 12 due to coronavirus, the event almost didn't occur due to no visitors being allowed.
The 93-year-old did not let that stop him from seeing his bride.
During his regular visit in March, he was turned away by the nursing home.
The next day, however, he returned with some belongings and rented a room.
“We’re married,” he explained.
“I want to be with her. She took care of me for 70 years, and now it’s my turn.”
Genece McChesney, one of Jack's children, said:
"They were never apart,” — and that wasn’t going to start now."
Though the center rented Jack a room, there were some restrictions.
Jack has to limit himself to his wife’s room or the lobby when he’s not in his own quarters.
He admitted he spends a lot of time alone, but it was worth it to be close to his wife.
Jack was also concerned that without him being there, Gerry might stop eating, and her health would decline.
The staff has noticed a change in Gerry's demeanor after Jack began feeding her meals.
One of the center’s dieticians, Olivia Jacobs, admitted his presence is a unique benefit that they can’t replicate.
“That’s something we can’t do,” Jacobs said.
“We haven’t been with her for 70 years.”
“He’s always having a good day; he’s always happy to see her. … He’s with his love, and that’s where he wants to be.”