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Monday, April 15, 2024
THE LOVE REPORT: Love blossomed for two kindred spirits in long-term care
Blake LeBlanc, left, and Lorraine Brown-Shaw met in long-term care during the pandemic. SUPPLIED

Blake LeBlanc & Lorraine Brown-Shaw

She was a Ridgeway girl and he was a Port Dalhousie boy, who found themselves in rooms 1113 and 1109 during the pandemic.

Lorraine was a spirited, spunky senior whose cheery room decor mirrored her festival sense of fashion.

Blake was a charmingly funny old hippie whose room quickly filled with Lorraine’s thrift store gifts of bric-a-brac.

They ate breakfast, lunch and dinner at a little table for two, his stroke on his right and hers on her left, sharing tales from their earlier lives that made them curious how they’d ever met.

He drove a motorized chair around the elder village while she held on from a belt that dangled behind while he pulled her in tow.

“Where’s the Blake-Lorraine train?” their visitors often wanted to know.

She held on while he zoomed across the property, taking a romantic getaway among the parking lot pines to sneak a private smooch.

They were busted countless times breaking out of lockdown to meet in this spot like clockwork for their “secret” rendezvous.

When restrictions were lifted, they adventured around the Niagara peninsula on many trips from long-term care: to the casino to try their luck, to Betty’s for pie or to the Butterfly Conservatory for their favourite kind of escape getaway.

As she slowed down this winter and critical illness set in, he made trips to the hospital to cheer her. “Yay!” she’d say as he pulled back the curtain.

Lorraine celebrated her 76th birthday this past Feb. 1 with a pink-frosted cherry cake and a little gold, heart-shaped tchotchke pendant from Blake.

When she returned to the home to receive palliative care in her room full of decorative butterflies, he visited often to offer companionship and kiss her hand softly.

Lorraine made her crossing in the night on the Lunar New Year and he quietly held her hand until her last hour.

The sun came up beaming soon after and Blake was soothed in his mourning to see the birds and little forest creatures joyfully about their secret spot, while Lorraine’s spirit soared like a butterfly. 

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