Although Robert Gellhorn and his family were initially distraught at the recent passing of his mother, Dolores Gellhorn, they are learning to find comfort in the arms of Roberta Zimerski, whom they have chosen to replace their fallen matriarch.
“Losing Mom was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to go through,” Robert Gellhorn said. “When we finally decided to pull the plug, I walked out of that hospice room with tears running down my face, certain that I would never find happiness again. But then on the way home, I saw this adorable old lady sitting at a bus stop throwing birdseed to the pigeons. I made eye contact with my wife and I could tell right away she knew what I was thinking.”
“You should have seen his face,” said Rhonda Gellhorn, Robert’s wife. “He just looked at me with these puppy-dog eyes that said, ‘Can we take her home?’ I knew I couldn’t say no after that.”
After bringing Zimerski back for a trial period, the Gellhorns saw how well she clicked with their family and extended a formal offer to her. So far, the Gellhorns say, everything has been smooth sailing.
“Roberta’s just wonderful,” Rhonda Gellhorn said. “She cooks for all of us, she knits us the comfiest socks, and she even has another family, so whenever we get tired of her we can drop her off at her son’s house. This has been great for us, because that was an issue we had in the past with a previous grandmother.”
Zimerski is not only impressing the adult Gellhorns, however; she is reportedly making quite the positive impression on the children as well.
“Old Nana was no fun. She just laid in bed and talked about how much everything hurt. Good
Nana buys us toys and takes us to the park,” said six-year-old Tommy Gellhorn.
As for their other child, five-month-old Zoe, the Gellhorns admitted that “she can’t talk yet,” but remain “pretty sure that she loves Roberta more than she ever loved Dolores.”
“Don’t get me wrong, we’re never going to forget Dolores,” Robert Gellhorn said. “But at some point, you have to move on. I think this is what she would have wanted.”
Although the Gellhorns insist that they are not planning to replace Zimerski any time soon, they do admit that they are “sometimes tempted by that sweet old woman in the Swiffer ads.”
Originally published: Dec 2013