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A reunion years in the making
Azura Memory Care helps reunite mother, son from separate facilities after several years apart
Marilyn Bahe, right, was reunited with her son, Kim Bahe, on July 12. The pair are patients at separate Azura Memory Care facilities, but after years apart — thanks to COVID-19 and travel restrictions — the mother-son duo was brought back together for a day in Monroe by Azura healthcare workers. They visited Baumgartner’s, the National Historic Cheesemaking Center, and got ice cream as well.

MONROE — With plenty of good food and laughter, a mother and son separated by illness and COVID-19 were reunited in Monroe recently, thanks to the work and ingenuity of volunteers and workers at the Azura Memory Care facilities in both Monroe and Clinton.

The story began several years ago when Marilyn Bahe began taking care of her son, Kim, at the Azura Memory Care facility in Clinton. He had lived there for about nine years following a debilitating stroke. As much as she could, Marilyn would faithfully drive the hour or so to Clinton to spend time with her son, as she was very close to her all of her children.

“His mother took care of him for the longest time, but due to her declining health, she moved into our Azura home in Monroe,” said Azura Marketing Director Peyton Litterick. “And they haven’t been able to see each other since, due to COVID and travel restrictions between the homes.”

Recognizing the need for a reunion, and the enduring bond between mother and son, staff at both of the Clinton and Monroe homes began working closely together months ago to plan something special for the two of them this summer.

So last week, on July 12, the pair were finally reunited in Monroe for a late-morning lunch a Baumgartner’s on the square downtown, a local museum tour and other activities. It was especially surprising for Marilyn Bahe, according to her granddaughter, Jennifer Ludlum. That’s because she had no idea about the reunion; and thought she was merely leaving Azura for a quick meal or snack.

But when she got to Baumgartner’s and saw her son waiting to surprise her, it was quite a joyous moment, said Ludlum.

“It went off really well, they were both so happy,” said Ludlow. “They both love cheese and they both love Baumgartner’s.”

The staff bringing Kim Bahe to Monroe to meet his mother had to plan for a number of contingencies, due in large part to his lingering health issues and the fact that the stroke left him with severe motion sickness. 

They feared that would be a problem on the hour’s long drive to Monroe so the spoke with a doctor who prescribed medication to help get through it. And just in case they packed an extra set of clothes for Kim — but he didn’t need them. He was fine and thrilled to be taking the trip, she said.

Kim really enjoyed not only Baumgartner’s and visiting his mother, but the various sites of homes he and his family once lived in Monroe, a place he had not been back to since 2013.  For years, she said, he has shown newspaper clippings of photos of the places his family lived back in the day to anyone he would meet.

“My dad really loved this community and cared a lot about it, told everyone about it,” said Ludlow. “They both had just a wonderful day and I’m so grateful that caring people made it happen.”