The Covid 19 lockdowns this year caused considerable pain at nursing homes with thousands of people separated from their loved ones arising out of the visiting restrictions.
However, one Cork family say they will forever cherish a magical moment which occurred during the first lockdown, when their father serenaded their mother at the window of her care home just weeks before she passed away.
Last April incurable romantic Denis McCarthy (85) visited his wife Ann (70) at the Fairfield nursing home in Drimoleague, Co Cork for their Golden Wedding Anniversary.
Unable to go indoors, he instead stood at the window of the bedroom of his wife and serenaded her with their very special song "Brown Eyed girl." Van Morrison’s “Moondance” album was released the year the couple got married and the musician held a special place in their hearts.
Annette Manning said her father, Denis, would have loved to have been able to give his wife a hug and a kiss on their big day. Naturally it was off the cards as the home kept residents safe from Covid 19.
However, staff pulled out all the stops, with the chef onsite making a beautiful chocolate cake. Ann had difficulties with swallowing and as a chocolate lover this was an extra special treat for the day.
Sadly, mother of eight Ann died on May 4, in a non Covid related passing.
Ms Manning says that she will forever cherish that glorious anniversary moment which was made possible by staff at the care home.
"Mum died on the 4th of May," she said. "Fifty years, eight kids and about ten grand kids.
"They worshipped the ground that the other walked on.
"Dad has found it so so hard. Dad has dementia. He doesn't even realise that Mum is gone. You can see her grave from where we live and dad just thinks mum is below in bed.
"(On the Golden anniversary) he was trying to serenade her but the windows were closed which was probably a good thing that she couldn't hear him! We aren't blessed with great singing voices.
"Staff at the nursing home went out of their way for my Mum. Mum had a stroke in October 2018. She went in the home in April 2019 and she had 13 very happy months in there."
Ms Manning said lockdown was tough on families with loved ones in homes.
She says they will hold close to their hearts their memories of the lovable "rogue" that was their mother Ann.
"Lockdown was horrendous. But the staff spoiled mum and were very good to her. I couldn't speak highly enough of the home.
When Mum died you had the church part where you only had ten people. Which was very hard. But mum is in a better place now and she is happy looking down on us."