Celebrating 50 Years of Marriage – That’s Amore!
By Lissa Miles
Both born in Italy, the pair didn’t meet until after they had immigrated to Canada and settled in Vancouver. Maria was in a garden with her sister when Angelo spotted her. Just three months later, they were married.
Five children and six grandchildren later, the couple is all about family. A long table stretches most of the length of the dining and living room to accommodate at least two meals a week with the entire family. Photos line the walls of the home along an arched brick wall Angelo built. He worked as a brick layer for 30 years with the same company and built some of the buildings around Vancouver.
Classic LifeCare has been providing home care for the family for 20 years, since Angelo sustained a brain injury in a work accident.
“I was on a break and fell,” he recalls in a melodic Italian accent. “I was in hospital four months.”
Andrea Warren, Executive Leader at Classic LifeCare, was working as a nurse for Classic when she first met Angelo.
“He fell and hit the back of his head, which caused a brain injury,” says Andrea. “I was the nurse working with Angelo and was treated like gold by Maria and the whole family. I would sit and have dinner with them and really felt like part of the family.”
Doctors initially recommended that Maria place Angelo in a care facility, but she would hear nothing of it.
“I said, ‘No way. I want my husband home.’”
Andrea says Angelo’s prognosis was poor. Maria was told he might not walk, talk or eat again. Thanks to home support and a lot of patience and persistence by Maria and the family, Angelo learned to eat without a tube feed and began to improve.
Mary Ann Brey, a Classic LifeCare health care worker, has been working with Angelo for 13 years, four days a week.
“It’s wonderful, I love my work,” says Mary Ann. “I would do anything for this family – not just for Angelo, but for Maria too. We’re there for each other like we’re all family.
“Maria is amazing. She doesn’t leave his side. If she goes out to visit a friend, she rushes back to make sure she’s here to give Angelo his dinner. Their family relationship is very tight. It’s untouchable.”
Maria smiles while flipping through her wedding photo album, Angelo pointing out faces and names amongst the black and white images.
“We have a nice life and great family,” says Maria. “We are very grateful.”
Angelo, who turns 80 soon, says he has a good life with Maria, is still very much in love, and would still choose her if he saw her standing in a garden.
“When I’m with Maria, I’m a young man.”
Maria and Angelo will celebrate their 50th with family and friends and a lot of Italian food later this month.