BARCELONA, Spain (AP) – Even when wrapped in plastic, a cuddly toy can convey tenderness, relief, love and dedication.
The fear that gripped Agustina Cañamero during the 102 days that she and her 84-year-old husband were physically separated during the Spanish coronavirus outbreak resolved as the pair embraced themselves through a plastic film screen.
Her husband, Pascual Pérez, lives in a nursing home in Barcelona, one of many who shut out visitors to try to protect their residents while the coronavirus killed so many older Spaniards.
Cañamero, 81, stayed in the house that she and Pérez shared during the nationwide landlock. During their 59-year marriage, the couple had never been apart for so many days.
So when Ballesol Puig i Fabra nursing home was able to resume visits with the addition of protective screens, Cañamero was one of the first to arrive. The man and woman kissed for minutes through the thin layer of plastic – and their face masks.
Their tearful reunion was repeated several times during the day by others, washing other residents, visitors, and even misty eyes of health workers with waves of healing energy.
Beatriz Segura carefully donned long gloves before reaching her arms through two holes in the plastic film to hug her 96-year-old mother at Ballesol Puig i Fabra. It was their first personal meeting since March 15.
While the nursing home staff sobbed at a respectful distance, mother and daughter talked. Segura said she was looking forward to taking her mom, Isabel López, out for dinner at a restaurant. López replied that her first priority was to go to a beauty salon.
61-year-old Dolores Reyes and her father, José Reyes, 87, were also together for the first time in almost four months. In their eagerness, they pulled down as they reached out to each other.
Representatives of Ballesol Puig i Fabra would not reveal how many residents had fallen ill with COVID-19 or died during the outbreak, citing an ongoing judicial investigation. Nursing homes in Spain were particularly hard hit by the virus, which has claimed a national death toll of at least 28,300.
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