HOUSTON, TX (KAMC News) — As Texas eases restrictions on nursing homes after new orders from Gov. Greg Abbott, many families are having happy reunions with loved ones separated during the pandemic.
Joyce and Bobby Myers have been married for 68 years. They live in the same retirement community in Houston, but when the pandemic struck, they were separated over concerns for their health.
“We’ve been in love since I was 14 years old … and the love never faltered,” Bobby Myers said.
Their marriage has survived over half a century, including Bobby’s service in the army during the Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis.
“She was a very beautiful girl, and she was sweet … We really immediately fell for each other,” Myers said.
But even pre-pandemic, the last few years have been some of the hardest in their lives. Joyce has Alzheimers, and her health forced the couple to move from East Texas to Buckner’s Parkway Place retirement community in Houston. She lives in one wing designated for dementia patients, and he lives in another wing with independent housing.
In March, Joyce’s unit was locked down to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among high risk patients. For months, Bobby didn’t know when he would get to hug his wife again or just touch her, and with her Alzheimers getting worse, he worried if she would even know who he was.
“I was afraid that she might forget me,” Myers said.
Until last Sunday. After the announcement from state health officials, their retirement community changed the rules to allow certain visitors with special guidelines, including weekly COVID-19 tests and mandatory N-95 masks.
Bobby was finally able to see his wife after the lock down that started six months ago. To him, anything was worth it to see Joyce, “his first and only sweetheart.”
Bobby and Joyce spent an hour and half holding hands and making up for lost time only getting more and more precious.
“It was just wonderful because I missed her very much, and we were just thrilled to be together again,” Myers said.