UPDATE: The elderly Canadian couple who tugged on the world's heartstrings in a tear-jerking Facebook post have finally been reunited.
After several months apart living in separate healthcare facilities, Wolfram and Anita Gottschalk have been placed in the same home located in Surrey, British Columbia, according to CNN.
"Thursday our family joyfully witnessed the reunification of Wolfram and Anita Gottschalk. Wolfram has finally been moved to the same facility as Anita at the residence at Morgan Heights," the couple's granddaughter, Ashley Bartyik, wrote in a Facebook update.
"The reunion saw tears of joy for all involved. They can now be under the same roof for their remaining years, and we couldn't be more grateful," she added.
As Anita clasped her husband's face while he sat in his wheelchair lovingly looking up at her, she said, "Look at me, look at me. I love you."
You would have to be totally heartless not to see the beauty in their pure, genuine love.
A poignant photo of an elderly couple holding hands and wiping their tears has caused a sensation across social media, but the story behind it is even more heartbreaking.
Wolf and Anita Gottschalk have been married for 62 years, but are unfortunately spending their golden years apart after being placed in separate nursing homes.
For the last eight months, Wolf has been living at the Yale Road Centre in Surrey, British Columbia after enduring a congestive heart failure while Anita resides 40 minutes away. Their granddaughter, Ashley Bartyik, posted the heartrending photo on Facebook captivating the grueling situation the family is in.
Bartyik drives her 81-year-old grandmother to see Wolf. Despite his dementia, Wolf’s memory of his wife hasn’t faded, but Bartyik fears the longer they remain apart, the more likely that image will erase.
“They cry every time they see each other, and it is heartbreaking,” Bartyik wrote in her post, which has received over 3,000 shares.
In addition to his dementia, Wolf, 83, was just diagnosed with lymphoma, sparking a greater sense of urgency for the family to bring the pair back together.
“We want justice for my grandparents who after 62 years together deserve to spend their last moments in the same building” Bartyik wrote.
A spokeswoman for Fraser Health Authority responded to the family’s plea, stating, "This is a heartbreaking situation for the family, and it's quite upsetting for us as well. We are committed to reuniting the couple and we hope to do so within the next few weeks."
The health care service says they have been working to get Wolf placed in Anita’s facility, yet the task remains difficult given both partners require different accommodations.
“One of the challenges with couple reunification is that they don't necessarily need the same level of care at the same time. In this case, the Wolf's care needs are considerably higher than his wife's,” Fraser Health Authority spokeswoman Tasleem Juma told the Daily Mail. "He needs residential care while his wife needs assisted living care. This means we need to make sure the facility can accommodate both their needs.”
While Juma insists the company has been in contact with the family since last week, Bartyik asserts they haven’t received a single phone call from Fraser in the last eight months.
Optimistically speaking, given the overwhelming power and clout of social media, one can only hope the two are reunited soon.
Banner image credit: Facebook, Ashley Bartyik