An Abbotsford couple celebrated their 70th anniversary on Wednesday (Nov. 18), but not in the way that they had hoped.
Peter and Hilda Froese had originally planned to celebrate at Cottage Pavilion long-term-care facility, where Peter resides.
Until this week, Hilda had been able to have a physically distanced visit with Peter inside the care home once a week, while other family members have had to do window visits and talk to him using their cellphones.
Their anniversary plans had included Hilda being able to put on protective gear and being able to sit beside Peter for the first time since March. His siblings had planned to visit at the window and sing to them.
Hilda had also planned to drop off cupcakes for the residents and staff.
But with two cases of COVID-19 confirmed at the Worthington-Cottage Pavilion this week and all inside visits on hold, those plans were cancelled.
Hilda was only permitted a visit from outside Peter’s closed window, and the two had a cellphone call.
“My mom is, needless to say, heartbroken,” said the couple’s daughter, Jean Schumacher, on Wednesday after the family received the news about the cancelled plans.
The couple met in the late 1940s and married in 1950, when Hilda was 17 and Peter was 19.
Peter came from a family of 12 children, and Hilda from a family of nine kids.
Family gatherings were filled with laughter and many people, at times filling the church basement with just the families.
There were tough times, and Peter had to work out of town while Hilda tried to be dad and mom for their four children – Jack, Jean, Judy and Peter.
The pair have lived in Abbotsford their entire married life and now have seven grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
The couple were on a long-awaited trip to Canada and the U.S., when Peter, at the age of 61, suffered a major stroke in Arizona.
Hilda was Peter’s caregiver at home for 25 years, until it became too difficult and he was moved to the Cottage Pavilion.