JAVIER Anto prays in front of his wife through a window separating the nursing home from the street in Barcelona.—AP
JAVIER Anto prays in front of his wife through a window separating the nursing home from the street in Barcelona.—AP

BARCELONA: Since the coronavirus pandemic struck Spain, a glass pane has separated Xavier Ant and Carmen Panzano for the first prolonged period of the couples 65-year marriage.

Ant, age 90, appears three or four times a week at the street-level window that looks into the Barcelona nursing home where his 92-year-old wife lives, which closed to visitors more than a year ago to protect residents from Covid-19.

Employees from the home provide him with a chair and bring Panzano to the other side of the window. Ant shows her photos of their grandchildren on his phone to try to counteract the effects of her Alzheimers disease.

Both have vaccines against the coronavirus, but Spain’s nursing homes still are under tight controls after tens of thousands of the country’s oldest adults died in senior care facilities during the early months of the pandemic.

The couple met in 1953 and got married in 1955. Except for a spell early in their marriage when he worked away from home, they always were together.

We had never been apart, Ant said. Last March, the homes director told me that when I left I wouldn’t be able to come back because the local authorities had established some very strict protocols, At first, workers at the home made video calls on a tablet two or three times a week so he and Panzano could see each other, he said.

Then they set up a booth with a transparent divider, but I prefer this window because with the booth you were limited to a certain day, and then only had half an hour, Ant recalled.

Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2021

Opinion

Activism in verse
07 May 2021

Activism in verse

Poetry speaks louder than prose when it comes to making an impact.
Missing women
07 May 2021

Missing women

In terms of gender parity, we are among the worst.
Mixed signals on rights
Updated 06 May 2021

Mixed signals on rights

Government officials continue to call human rights standards alien to Pakistan’s ground realities.

Editorial

Reprimanding envoys
Updated 07 May 2021

Reprimanding envoys

The prime minister should have engaged with honest and respectable officers to identify how solutions can be found.
07 May 2021

Foreign funding case

THE foreign funding case against the PTI has become a never-ending tale. It has been dragging on for years and after...
07 May 2021

Water woes

IRRIGATION experts have voiced concern over the decline of freshwater flow through Kotri barrage, which has led to...
Proceed with caution
Updated 06 May 2021

Proceed with caution

The slightest loosening of SOP protocols could send us hurling in the direction where India finds itself today.
06 May 2021

IPP dues

THE ECC decision to pay the first tranche of outstanding dues of one set of IPPs, and further delay the payments of...
06 May 2021

Violence against doctors

HEALTHCARE workers and doctors’ associations in two major hospitals of KP are adamant that the KP Healthcare...