This Mother’s Day, Nancy Weiss, who lives at Residences at Coffee Creek in Chesterton, will spend the holiday without seeing her children in person.
While she said it’s sad she can’t have visitors over due to restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, it doesn’t compare to recently losing her husband of more than 70 years while in quarantine.
"How can you equate that with losing a husband of 70 years? It's just that's the most important thing in my life, and it just happened, and I'm still grieving,” Weiss said on Thursday.
Paul died on April 18 in their apartment. He was 91.
Nancy first spotted Paul while he was walking in a train station with a friend of hers.
“I was very impressed that she was with him and found out who he was,” Nancy said.
Unbeknownst to Nancy, Paul also was trying to find out who Nancy was, so the two could be fixed up, she said.
Theirs was a love story that lasted more than 70 years, and it all started with a blind date. Usually, Nancy said no to blind dates, but agreed to go on a date with Paul. They went to a Boy Scout dance, but stayed away from the dance floor. Instead, they ended up talking for three hours.
“He told me that he never dated a girl more than three times, and I thought this guy is just too cocky. I'm going to date him for four or five times, and then I'm going to dump him," she said. "So that's what happened. Only I couldn't dump him, and we lasted for 74 years.”
Paul was six months older than Nancy, and had just graduated high school when the pair met. He went off to the University of Illinois and visited Nancy every weekend. They waited until he graduated to be married — a promise they made to Paul’s mom.
"Just before we got married, I was waiting out in the lobby in my wedding gown and everything and looking in the mirror until it was my turn to look down the aisle. And my flowers were shaking,” Nancy said. “I couldn't understand why my flowers were shaking because I wasn't the least bit nervous.”
“It was a good marriage,” she added.
Gale Schultz, one of Nancy and Paul’s daughters, said her father was a bright, kind man you could always count on.
“You could always count on him. You always felt safe because you know he would never let anything happen to anybody," Schultz said. "He took care of all of us."
Though Schultz said she can’t see her mom right now, she does call her daily and Facetimes her two or three times a week.
“I tell you what, losing my dad and not being able to be with her, that's been way more difficult than what Mother's Day will be for her,” Schultz said.
When Schultz is able to visit, the pair usually hit the town for a bite to eat and some shopping.
“We like to go out for lunch or go out for tea or visit all the local shops when they're open — you know all those good things that women like to do,” Nancy said.
Right now, however, the pair can only communicate by phone or window visit.
"It's bad right now because we're also quarantined and everybody is kinda lonesome, but because I'm in this nice facility. I have lots of company."
Nicki Caylor’s mom, Marian, also is a resident at Coffee Creek. Since the pandemic, Caylor said she has been able to call her mom and do a window visit.
“I want to give my mom a hug. I really miss her. I haven't seen her since March 13 or 14, whatever that Friday was,” Caylor said. “It's been hard. I miss her a lot.”
Typically, between Caylor and her sisters, someone visited Marian at least once a week, she said.
On Monday, Caylor and her sisters celebrated Marian’s birthday through a balcony visit. They plan to do the same on Mother’s Day.
"I think it was nice because it made her realize that we still remembered and that we could still celebrate with her," Caylor said. "I think the hardest time she had was when we sang happy birthday to her, she got a little choked up and said she wished she could hug us."