California couple married 72 years holds hands for the first time in a year

couple hugging
Posted at 12:00 PM, Mar 24, 2021

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KGTV) - After one year of not being able to touch because of the coronavirus pandemic, a San Diego area couple married for more than 72 years finally reunited and were able to embrace.

Francis and Roberta Doiran were married Nov. 25, 1948. They moved into their Chula Vista home in 1955, which they still own.

With failing memory and an increase in falls, doctors advised that Roberta should move into a care facility, so she moved to Sharp Healthcare’s Birch Patrick Skilled Nursing Facility three years ago. For the first two years of her time there, Francis visited for 12 hours a day, every day of the week. That stopped when the pandemic started.

For the last year, the couple has relied on daily phone calls and video chats to stay in contact. Other than two half-hour visits with six foot of distance kept the whole time, they have not seen each other in person.

Francis said he’s worried that the distance is hindering her already deteriorating memory.

“The closer I can be with her, next to her, the more memory I can bring up. She’s losing her memory more because I’m not there,” he said.

Finally, after one year apart, they reunited.

Tuesday, March 23, they were able to embrace for the first time. Because they both are fully vaccinated, they were able to hold hands and hug.

The two sat for about an hour, sharing memories and catching up. Francis played some of Roberta’s favorites songs for her, hoping to help jog her memory.

He said he knows visits will be brief and not as often as before, but he’s looking forward to the day when they can spend all day, every day together. This reunion was the start of the next chapter in their long book of marriage.

“Things aren’t that bad. There is light at the end of the tunnel, it’s coming quick,” said Francis.

This story originally reported by Leah Pezzetti on