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Mother-daughter reunion

Diane Sellnow, left, a resident of a Grand Rapids nursing home, was reunited with her mother, 103-year-old Mabel Ehrenberg, right, a resident of Glencoe Regional Health Services (GRHS) Long Term Care, on Easter Sunday. It was the first time mother and daughter had seen each other face to face in over five years. GRHS arranged the reunion through its “Just One Wish” program.

“I don’t think in all my life I’ve cried as many tears as I did yesterday,” Mabel Ehrenberg said Monday morning.
That’s saying something, because all of Mabel’s life encompasses 103 years.
And, fortunately, Mabel’s tears weren’t of sadness, but of joy: on Easter Sunday, Mabel — a resident of Glencoe Regional Health Services Long Term Care — was reunited with her daughter, Diane Sellnow, whom she has not seen for five years.
With good reason. Diane, like her mother, resides in a nursing home. But a long way from Glencoe, as she lives in Grand Rapids.
Mabel said Monday that the last time she saw her daughter was when her son, Duane, took her to visit Diane in Grand Rapids. That was shortly before Mabel became a resident at GRHS Long Term Care (LTC).
The day after Mabel’s 103rd birthday, Lisa Carter, director of activities, asked Mabel what she would want if she could be granted one wish.
Her first choice would be to return to her home. That wasn’t an option, so her second wish was simple:
“I said I want to see my daughter, Diane,” said Mabel.
So Carter went to work, submitting Mabel’s request to  GRHS’ “Just One Wish” program.
Carter called Diane’s nursing home, and talked to the staff about the possibility of a trip to bring mother and daughter back together.
The Grand Rapids crew was just as enthusiastic about the reunion as the GRHS staff.
“We just had to pay for the van, and they would bring Diane down here with staff,” said Carter.
For Mabel, the Saturday night before Easter was almost like waiting for Santa on Christmas Eve: she hardly slept at all.
Diane and her staff left Grand Rapids about 8:30 Sunday morning, and arrived in Glencoe about 1:30 p.m.
Mabel was waiting with open arms.
“Everyone was crying,” said Carter. “Diane, Mabel, the staff …”

For more, see the April 8 print edition of The Chronicle.