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Man serenades wife in assisted-living facility with ukulele

Jess Ruby has been forced to practice social distancing from his wife of 56 years while she recovers from a stroke.

NAMPA, Idaho — The coronavirus has cut us off from our social functions, our friends, and even our families in certain circumstances.

Which is one of the questions we get a lot on The 208 -- How are people dealing with not being able to visit loved ones in assisted living facilities?

Sadly, some may not have the means to accommodate such seclusion.

How do you visit someone who may not be so tech-savvy, if you can't be in the same room?

Many have figured it out like Jess Ruby from Nampa who has been able to visit his wife while still bringing her some plucky peace of mind.

For the first time in 56 years, Jess Ruby is living in his house alone.

“What is your daily routine?” asked KTVB.

“Well, I get up, I do a little devotional, I play a little music with the ukulele, and then I have breakfast,” said Jess. I usually go down and see Laura sometime between noon and three.”

Laura is Jess's wife of more than five decades. And about a month ago, she survived a pretty serious stroke.

“What's the hardest part?” asked KTVB.

“Not having her here. I mean, it's really, she's pretty well incapacitated,” Jess said. “She understands well, and can think pretty well most of the time, but she's pretty well paralyzed on her left side.”

Which is why she is at Cascadia of Nampa, an assisted-living and rehab facility.

“Yeah that's kinda hard. It'd be really nice to get in there and give her a hug,” Jess said.

But because of the threat of COVID-19, one-on-one visits have to be done from six feet away and from outside

So every day for the last two weeks, Jess will just drop by to bring Laura a little something from home

“She grew up in a musical family and always loved music,” he said.

Jess and Laura would often play together; she on the piano, Jess on the bass guitar. But the ukulele is Jess's go-to for gig's like this.

“Does she make requests?” asked KTVB.

“Yeah, she likes to hear ‘You Are My Sunshine.’ She likes it. I think she enjoys it,” Jess said. “I just really enjoy making her feel good and encouraging her. She needs lots of encouragement right now.”

And right now, the only encouragement he can offer is a serenade from a socially acceptable distance.

“You know it's kind of strange, we could sit around the house all day and not hardly say anything to each other, but it still beats this, ha, ha, ha,” Jess remarked.

But this is better than nothing. And nothing is not something he's willing to do.

“We've been married for 56 years, she's the love of my life,” Jess said.

‘And you'd do anything?” asked KTVB.

“Yeah,” Jess replied.

Jess says Laura is showing some signs of improvement. She is starting to feel some sensation in her left arm.

Jess says he has missed one day in the last two weeks because he had to get a tooth pulled.

But he plans to visit Laura every day until she gets to come home, and can't wait to get to go inside to give his wife a hug.

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