Thursday, Feb. 28, was a surprisingly happy day for one person in particular here in Cleveland. A resident of Bradley Healthcare, Delcie Smith, was so surprised around 10:45 that morning she described herself as having “never been happier.”
The surprise? Her two granddaughters, as well as a former daughter-in-law and brother-in-law, ended up finding her after not seeing her for more than 30 years.
They had been in touch throughout the years via letters, cards and phone calls. But about nine years ago, they had completely lost touch with her. It was about that time that she had moved out of the residence she had been living in, and no one had been given a change of address.
After years of wondering where Smith had moved and how she was doing, her relatives — Gail and Ron Hutchinson, Conni Brewer and Ken and Jerri Reynolds — decided to try to find her. Certain circumstances brought them through Tennessee, as they live in Maine and Canada.
They had just been to the funeral of Gail Hutchinson’s grandmother in Georgia. They called BHRC and asked if it was all right (by state laws) to ask if there was a Delcie Smith in the facility. Sure enough there was, so the family headed to Cleveland to be reunited with their long-lost loved one.
As Smith was wheeled to the front of the dining room that morning — to the doors where her family stood — nothing could describe her joy as she realized it was her family.
She said, “I thought I had lost you.”
Brewer had said she had not seen her grandmother in 36 years, as she was only 14 the last time she saw her.
Smith was the youngest of nine brothers and two sisters, who have already passed on.
Family members had thought Smith might have already passed as well, since they had been out of touch so long.
She was able to visit and reminisce with her family for more than two hours and learned she not only has great-grandchildren, but two great-great-grandchildren as well.
Smith described her visit as the “happiest day of my life” and that it was “just too good for words.”
Her family members agreed: Now that they’ve found her, they plan on keeping in touch with her as much as possible with phone calls and cards and letters, just like before.
The BHRC resident said she looks forward to it.