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Family figures out how to social distance and celebrate grandmother’s 100th birthday

Posted at 6:14 PM, Mar 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-29 18:45:23-04

GEORGETOWN, Ky. (LEX 18) — The decision to cancel a family celebration for their grandmother’s 100th birthday wasn’t easy for Barry Wilson and his family.

“She means everything to me,” he said.

The cancellation was rooted in concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus, especially since Christine Gillespie--lovingly known as Momateen--is part of the most vulnerable population.

Wilson’s brother suggested they arrange for Momateen to be escorted outside Dover Manor Nursing Center where they would be waiting to sing to her from a safe distance.

“We wish we could be with her, see her, hug her,” said Wilson. “We don't want anyone to, you know, become ill because we're not doing what we should be doing.”

Loved ones sang to the “Queen,” as her shirt read, who spent the day wearing a sparkling tiara. They then took turns walking up to the nursing home’s closed gate to personally tell Momateen how important she is to them and how much they love her.

Many of the people whose lives she touched over the years also wrote birthday cards and mailed them to her. Some made videos and called her.

Barry Wilson said this to his grandmother: “I just want you to know that I love you and respect you. I haven't forgotten the things that you have told me. I just want you to know that without you, I know that my life would be different. You've instilled things into me that I will take with me forever.”