‘It was a relief’: Winnipeg couple married over 70 years reunite after being separated due to COVID-19

WINNIPEG –

In a world dominated by negative COVID-19 news for the last two years, there was a positive outcome coming from the Saul and Claribel Simkin Centre on Tuesday.

A Winnipeg couple who got married in 1950 were able to reunite after being separated by COVID.

Shirley Kleiman had to isolate after testing positive for COVID-19, meaning her husband Sam, was not able to visit her in person, which he had been doing every day for the last four years.

But on Tuesday, her isolation came to an end and the centre held a recovery parade and there to greet her was Sam.

“It was like, you finally could exhale. It was a relief,” said Sam.

He said it was hard to originally learn that Shirley tested positive for COVID.

“It was another kick in the shins,” he said, “Because that lady doesn’t deserve any loading on.”

But now the couple, who are 94, are able to resume their daily visits, with Sam noting he was visiting Shirley on Friday.

He also gives the staff at Simkin Centre a ton of credit for the work they do.

“I have to say that they go above and beyond whatever is required just to make sure that their residents are being looked after.”

Laurie Cerqueti, the CEO of the Simkin Centre, said ever since the pandemic started they have held recovery parades to honour the special moment of recovering from COVID.

“When we do have our parades it is really a staff morale booster. We invite the families to join…it is just so beautiful to seeing them being able to reunite,” said Cerqueti.

She said the parade features a theme song of ‘Stayin’ Alive’ and each resident that comes out of isolation gets a special t-shirt that says virus survivor.

Sam and Shirley Kleiman have been married since 1950 and Sam visits Shirley every day at the Simkin Centre. (Source: Dave Minuk)

Cerqueti said it was an incredible moment to see Sam and Shirley being able to reunite after being apart.

“I think the devotion is just so admirable,” she said.

Sam said he is happy to see Shirley getting the attention that he feels she deserves.

“In her life, she has been exemplary. She is kind, considerate, of other people. That’s the way she has lived her life and she deserves whatever commendation she can get. She’s a remarkable lady,” said Sam.

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