Words often quoted in wedding ceremonies are the words Ruth spoke to Naomi, (16) “For where you go, I will go. Where you stay, I will stay. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. (17) Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me.” (Ruth 1:16-17)
Many people say those words but few live them like Mary Daniel of Jacksonville, Florida. She had not seen her husband, Steve, in 114 days after a state order barred visitors to care centers due to the coronavirus pandemic. Steve, 66, who has early onset Alzheimer's disease, and has resided in a memory care unit of the Rosecastle nursing home since last July.
Mary said, "I went to see him every single night, got him ready for bed," she said. Four months ago, everything changed when the COVID-19 pandemic hit Florida. "I went in on March 10 and on March 11 they called and said, 'You can’t come back.'"
Mary explained that she tried visiting her husband through a window, but said he just cried and could not understand what was going on. Later on, she came up with a creative idea and reached out to Rosecastle staff and asked if she could volunteer or get a job at the care center just for the opportunity to see her husband of 24 years in person again. "They said, 'Let’s wait to see what happens,'" Mary recalled. She has a job, she is the chief executive of a company that helps patients with their medical bills, so she didn’t need the money.
"Then, out of the blue two weeks ago, they called and said, 'Do you want a job?' When I found out it was as a dishwasher, I thought, 'Well, okay! I guess I'm a dishwasher now.'" And interesting job for a CEO, but Mary said, “It was the only way I could spend a few hours a week with my husband. Mary reports for duty two days a week to work an hour-and-a-half shift. Then she spends her evenings with Steve just the way she did before the pandemic-helping him get out of his clothes and prepare for nighttime.
I don’t know if the words of Ruth was a part of Mary and Steve’s wedding vows, but I know that she lives them out in a way that would make Ruth proud.