“There are some really special people in this world,” says Lita Heinbecker as she considers the efforts the team at The Village of Wentworth Heights put into a special reunion with her sister Irma, who recently moved back into The Village after health issues and COVID lockdowns separated them.
When the retirement home opened four years ago, Irma and Lita shared a lovely two-bedroom suite and they did almost everything together. The humour and kindness they shared with neighbours and the team were sorely missed when Lita’s health forced her to move in with one of her sons. Irma soon felt the emptiness of the suite and chose to move in with family as well.
But the sisters always had their sights set on coming back and long before the team knew when they might return, they were planning a reunion celebration. Lita moved back into the home in late 2019 and Irma was on the waitlist, unable to visit her sister while COVID-19 restrictions came into effect.
On a quiet afternoon in late April 2021, however, once Irma had been settled in her new suite and the mandatory quarantine period had lifted, she strolled into the solarium upon the second floor where her sister sat awaiting her arrival. It had been more than a year since they last saw each other when they celebrated Lita’s birthday in The Ruby restaurant on the 10th Floor of Wentworth Heights. When they reunited, their eyes shimmered with the smiles behind their masks, and they fought the urge to embrace each other, doing all they could to maintain the physical distancing guidance of Public Health.
“She’s my best friend,” Irma said at one point as they sat beside a cake the team presented, adorned with the words “Sisters Forever.” Their appreciation for the event shone brightly as they spoke with the team that organized the reunion.
“It was just outstanding,” said Lori Maggio, Irma’s daughter, making special note of the relationship they have developed with Branka Urosevic, one of the Village’s directors of lifestyle options. “Branka is the most amazing person I know; mom has been away from there for two and half years and Branka kept in touch with me, she kept me on the list of e-mails because she still felt that Mum was part of the Village’s family.
After the event, Irma “floated back to her room,” Lori said, elated as she had been to see her sister thanks to the efforts of everyone.
“All the staff are amazing, remember Mum and are glad to have her back,” Lori said. “It’s such a friendly neighbourhood, that’s what I call the Village.
The sisters, says Branka, are key members of the Village family and the team is thrilled that they are back together.
“One thing that has remained the same is their love for one another,” Branka says. “No matter what health crisis or changes they’ve faced, that has never stopped them from being together.”