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Family finds way to safely celebrate grandmother’s 99th birthday despite coronavirus outbreak

TRENTON, Mich. – This was not how it was supposed to go. There should have been a big party with hugs and kisses to celebrate Mary Mikola’s near-century on this earth.

“It’s very sad,” Terrie Derupa said. “Our grandmother is all we have because my parents are both gone. You never know what tomorrow holds, it’s sad we can’t be with her today.”

But these days, it can be very dangerous to even visit with a 99-year-old, so the family improvised. They still wanted to make sure she still felt special on her milestone birthday.

“Since we can’t be with her, we made signs and we are going to the lawn outside her assisted living center and we are going to sing her Happy Birthday,” Derupa said.

“All of her great grandchildren are here and two of her grandchildren and all of their spouses are here,” Mary’s great granddaughter, Brittany said.

Inside, the aides at the Cunningham Trenton Senior Assisted Living center guided Mary to the big picture window out front.

As the family started to sing Happy Birthday, you could see the emotion on both sides of the glass.

Afterward, everyone went as close as they could to share their birthday wishes with grandma and Mary said she was so grateful to see everyone.


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