Many families are currently separated from their loved ones. Some reunions have been able to happen a little sooner than others. We were lucky to find that this one was caught on camera. Cara Sedgwick of Dartmouth posted about her grandparents reuniting in the most beautiful way.

Sedgwick’s grandparents, Joseph and Madalena Sardinha, lived together at their home in New Bedford. Joseph continued to care for his Madalena as long as he physically could. “My grandmother had the onset of dementia,” Sedgwick explains. “It has progressed significantly over the past year.”

Joseph had been in great health for most of his life but started to have circulation issues in the lower part of his right leg before the 2019 holiday season. “He managed the pain for a while. When the pain became unbearable for him to get out of bed, my parents decided to have both of my grandparents move in with them to their house in South Dartmouth. That way he’d have help with my grandmother and have my mom there with him also, as she is a retired nurse.”

However, things got worse for Joseph at the beginning of February. “My grandfather’s doctor said that an immediate amputation of the leg would be the best decision to manage his pain going forth. And so, they proceeded with the procedure within just a couple of days.” On Tuesday, February 4, Joseph had the bottom portion of his right leg amputated. After taking some time to recover at St. Luke’s, he was moved to continue rehab at the Jewish Convalescent Home in New Bedford.

Sedgwick’s parents, Robert and Olga O’Connor, brought Madalena to visit her husband every single day they could. Unfortunately, that was no longer possible when nursing homes prohibited visitors at the start of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic in early March. “They went weeks without being in each other’s presence, said Sedgwick. “Luckily, they were able to FaceTime each other since my grandfather kept a cell phone on him while at the nursing home.”

Sedgwick knew that this time apart was especially hard for Joseph because it meant his wife of 72 years was scared and confused that he was not there with her. “My grandmother’s Alzheimer’s comes with the repetitive occurrence of ‘Where is my husband?’ ‘When can I see him?’ ‘When will he be home?’ It was exceptionally hard for her to understand his absence through all of this. She would have to repeatedly be reminded of what was going on in the world and why she wasn’t able to go see him.”

Photo contributed by Cara Sedgwick

After a couple of setbacks, he finally got the green light from his doctor to be released on Friday, April 3. “Just six days before his 92nd birthday! He was so happy to be home for that!” Nearly a dozen family members gathered, outside and from a distance, to welcome Joseph home complete with banners and balloons.

“It was a blessing that they could be reunited. Although not at the home they shared for years, they are “home” together.” Nicholas Sparks couldn’t have written anything more precious even if he tried. Way to make my eyes get all misty today.

Photo contributed by Cara Sedgwick


READ MORE: Inspiring Stories From the Coronavirus Pandemic

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