Heartbreaking moment groom sees grandparents who couldn’t attend his wedding because of COVID-19


A photographer has captured the heartbreaking moment a groom waves through a glass nursing home door at his elderly grandparents who weren’t allowed to attend his wedding because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Brendan Samuels, from Sydney, has shared what happened behind-the-scenes at Christine and Peter’s wedding on September 26 – and the ultimate gift the bride gave her new husband.  

‘Last night as I drove home from Christine and Peter’s wedding I needed to have the radio off. No podcast, no John Mayer, no YouTube ambient playlist. Silence, I needed white noise to sober up to what I had just experienced,’ Brendan wrote on Facebook.

Brendan Samuels, who lives in Sydney, has shared what happened behind-the-scenes at Christine and Peter’s wedding on September 26 – and the ultimate gift the bride gave her new husband (couple pictured)

The couple were permitted to stand outside the nursing home glass doors and wave to Peter's grandparents

The couple were permitted to stand outside the nursing home glass doors and wave to Peter’s grandparents

His grandpa had dressed up in a suit to see his grandson on his wedding day. Grandma had her special Ang Pow (red pocket) and it was passed underneath the glass doors

His grandpa had dressed up in a suit to see his grandson on his wedding day. Grandma had her special Ang Pow (red pocket) and it was passed underneath the glass doors

‘I was reminded about the reality of this pandemic (not the inconvenience into our daily lives) but rather how for others, this is their fight for survival. 

‘The fact that isolation and separation from loved ones means they’re able to see another day and mature in their wisdom.’

Christine surprised Peter with a special visit to his grandparent’s nursing home shortly after the ceremony, still dressed in their formal attire. 

Wearing a blindfold, Peter stepped out of Brendan’s car and was led to the front door – still unaware about the impending reunion – only to realise the couple weren’t ‘taking night photos’ at all. 

‘He had a smile from cheek to cheek when he saw his grandparents,’ Brendan said.

Wearing a blindfold, Peter stepped out of Brendan's car and was led to the front door - still unaware about the impending reunion - only to realise the couple weren't 'taking night photos' at all

Wearing a blindfold, Peter stepped out of Brendan’s car and was led to the front door – still unaware about the impending reunion – only to realise the couple weren’t ‘taking night photos’ at all

'He had a smile from cheek to cheek when he saw his grandparents,' Brendan said

‘He had a smile from cheek to cheek when he saw his grandparents,’ Brendan said

What are the current restrictions around aged care facilities in NSW? 

To reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 to residents, facilities should implement the following measures for restricting visits and visitors: 

* Limit visits to a short duration. 

* Limit visits to a maximum of two visitors at any one time. 

* Visitors who have travelled overseas in the previous 14 days should not be permitted. 

* Visitors who have travelled from areas within Victoria or Melbourne in the previous 14 days considered to be hotspots for COVID-19 transmission should not be permitted. 

* No large group visits or gatherings, including social activities or entertainment (including school groups of any size). 

* Visits should be conducted in the resident’s room, outdoors, or in a specific designated area, rather than in communal areas. 

* All visitors should have up to date vaccination against influenza.

Source: NSW government 

‘His grandpa had dressed up in a suit to see his grandson on his wedding day. Grandma had her special Ang Pow (red pocket) and it was passed underneath the glass doors.’

In Chinese and other east and southeast Asian societies a red envelope is given as a monetary gift during holidays or special occasions such as weddings, graduations or the birth of a baby.  

‘With the exchange of quiet murmurs you could feel the hard reality of how this pandemic is hurting our desire for relationships and spending time with our loved ones,’ Brendan continued.

Peter’s grandfather began to pray and although they couldn’t hear what he was uttering behind the glass, Brendan knew ‘the prayer had been answered’.  

Peter's grandfather began to pray and although they couldn't hear what he was uttering behind the glass, Brendan knew 'the prayer had been answered'

Peter’s grandfather began to pray and although they couldn’t hear what he was uttering behind the glass, Brendan knew ‘the prayer had been answered’

The photographer said the hardest part about the evening was watching Peter's grandparents behind wheeled back to their rooms

The photographer said the hardest part about the evening was watching Peter’s grandparents behind wheeled back to their rooms

Peter's grandparents weren't able to attend his wedding ceremony but they were delighted to see him moments after

Peter’s grandparents weren’t able to attend his wedding ceremony but they were delighted to see him moments after

The photographer said the hardest part of the evening was watching Peter’s grandparents behind wheeled back to their rooms.  

‘I felt for Peter, I felt for his grandparents. For a moment or two, I’d almost forgotten that I was there to photograph as I wiped away my tears… Who knows when life will return to normal,’ he said.

‘Can I ask you to do something? Up the amount of times you talk to your grandparents. Yes that might mean having the same conversation multiple times but do it for them. 

‘They’re the ones who can’t live in the “new normal”. Send them video messages. Put a letter in the post.

'I felt for Peter, I felt for his grandparents. For a moment or two, I'd almost forgotten that I was there to photograph as I wiped away my tears... Who knows when life will return to normal,' he said

‘I felt for Peter, I felt for his grandparents. For a moment or two, I’d almost forgotten that I was there to photograph as I wiped away my tears… Who knows when life will return to normal,’ he said

Brendan thanked those serving on the 'front line' of the global health crisis, saying that they are 'amazing' and are doing an incredible job (Christine pictured)

Brendan thanked those serving on the ‘front line’ of the global health crisis, saying that they are ‘amazing’ and are doing an incredible job (Christine pictured)

‘They’re the ones who baby sat us whilst our parents went to work. They’re the ones that talk proudly of you amongst their friends and they’re the ones who help us to understand unconditional love.’ 

Brendan thanked those serving on the ‘front line’ of the global health crisis, saying that they are ‘amazing’ and are doing an incredible job. 

In NSW those living in residential aged care facilities are limited in the time they can spend with visitors, can only have two visitors at one time and only in their room or outside – not in a communal area.

No large gatherings of residents and family, including social activities, are currently permitted. 

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