No distance could prevent a man in his 90s from spending every day with his wife, even if it took him to ride his bike for two hours to get to the nursing home where she lived. Even though he recognizes that his wife’s health has been failing recently, this does not alter his unending love for their desire to see her daily.
Hearing accounts that demonstrate that there is such a thing as pure love is both inspiring and encouraging. It’s good to read stories of love that lasts, especially in a society where divorce and separation are so common. These stories demonstrate that it is still possible to be happy with the person you love until the end of your life together.
Since the couple married more than sixty years ago, a man in the Netherlands who is now 90 years old has kept his promise to be with his wife through good health and illness. Even though it was a round trip of 10.6 miles from his house in Diepenveen to the nursing home where his wife was staying in Apeldoorn, nothing could keep him from seeing her.
Making the 10.6-mile journey
Peter Burkhardt doesn’t care if it’s the middle of a hot, humid day or a chilly winter afternoon; he will still jump on his bike and ride to his wife’s house. Even though it takes him anywhere from an hour to two hours to get there, and the wind often howls in the wrong direction, he still journeys to spend a couple of hours with her.
Because his wife, Clara, has dementia, she is currently residing in a nursing home so that she may receive the necessary care. Unfortunately, the only nursing home that would take her was more than ten miles away from where she lived, and while this would have been a problem for some people, Peter did not find it to be an issue in any way.
When pressed further about whether or not he believes Clara is aware of the daily commute he makes, he admits that she is not.
Peter Burkhardt on his bike | Source: Instagram/de_stentor
Age is nothing to him, even at his advanced age.
Peter has been doing everything he can to be with his wife regularly for the past seven years. After having his driver’s license taken away, he was forced to give up his prior daily routine, which involved changing between cycling his regular bike and a car.
After being injured from a fall caused by the wet leaves on the road, he now rides a tricycle instead of a bicycle. Because of what he bought at the bike shop, he now has an undercarriage fitted with an extra wheel. Over 24,000 kilometers were traveled on the trike to pay a visit to Clara.
Peter Burkhardt | Source: Instagram.com/de_stanton
Peter feels like he’s been given a new lease on life whenever he’s with Clara. He explains how she always offers him a loving arm when he goes in to see her. Peter wishes to remain with her regardless of how Clara feels on any given day. He said:
“My motivation is in Apeldoorn. I want to see her, hear her voice. When I entered the nursing home, I immediately knew where she was. She is no longer the same as she was, but I’m still in love with her. Every time I go home, I think it’s a sad moment.”
When asked if he thinks that Clara is mindful of the commute that he makes every day, he admits that she is not because it is something that is outside of her field of experience. Despite this, he finds that her presence and the odd hug are more than enough.
Having the support of his children
Even though he will be 90 years old soon, Peter hopes to keep paying Clara for his repeated trips. Even though his mobility has reduced, he is optimistic that he will be able to continue cycling, and he knows that he can count on his children to take him on days when the weather is poor or when he has minor injuries.
Wounter Burkhardt, one of Peter and Clara’s sons, says that he thinks his parents stay alive because they can visit each other and talk about how much they love each other. He also hopes that his father’s determination to spend each day with the love of his life will inspire other people to keep their loving relationships despite the challenges they face.
Inspirational Words from Around the World
The life story of Peter has served as a source of inspiration for all who have become aware of it. They also offered heartwarming stories of romantic encounters, particularly those that featured older adults.
“Reminds me of my Papa. He couldn’t bicycle because of his broken hip but insisted on seeing my mother every day even though she rarely recognized him. He said he recognized her and loved her. They had met and fallen in love before the war but had to wait until after to marry. They were in love for 67 years and married for 62. He died exactly two months after she passed away. His last words were (in Dutch), “I go to your mother.” – Bea VanWyk McPherson (January 21, 2023)
“We lived near a nursing facility and appreciated a man who came (on a bus) to visit his wife. For several years he took her for a walk each day, then pushed her in a wheelchair. Every woman I know prayed for a husband like that.” – Sunne Brandmeyer (January 21, 2023)
“We should all be so lucky to have a spouse/partner as dedicated as he is!” – Shelley Finance (January 21, 2023)
Facebook/ Karen Sjouke
The reality that many older adults have to be separated from their spouses to get the needed care is a position that can break anyone’s heart. It is wonderful to observe that their love persists despite their distance and even gets deeper as time passes.
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