Crosby couple separated by COVID-19

CROSBY, N.D. - A couple in Crosby, N.D., who have been married for 72 years, are staying connected even though Coronavirus regulations have separated them.

Two senior sweethearts, who said “I Do” in 1947, are safely breaking barriers put in place for nursing homes, because that age group is at high risk for COVID-19.

Despite cold wind, snow, and rain, John Benter has stood outside the Saint Luke’s Care Center every morning for the last two and a half weeks to see his wife Marian.

“When we could visit with her three times a day, I’d come and spend a lot of time up here, but now that she’s isolated, all I can do is wave at her through a window. I haven’t been close enough to hold her hand since this started,” said John.

For most of their life, John and Marian were inseparable, but that changed two years ago.

John said, “She was a very active person right up to the day when she fell and broke her hip.”

John said he isn’t letting broken bones or COVID-19 keep them apart. “She gets awful lonesome in the evenings because I was always here up until almost eight o’ clock in the evening helping her get ready, and she called and said how lonely she was, and I said well I get lonely, too,” added John.

When they can’t communicate, John holds up a sign to the window that reads “I Love You.”

John and Marian's daughter, Susan Hagen, said the care center nurses help them talk on the phone every day.

“Just shows the love that my parents have for each other, because we’re making it work. Everybody is working, and we’re making it work, and we’ll get through it. We’ll get through it,” said Hagen.

John says he hopes the spread of the coronavirus subsides soon, so he can once again hold his wife in his arms.

The couple’s children says Saint Luke’s Care Center has been a blessing to them, and continues to connect them through lots of phone calls with their mother.