Ken McFarland of Chartwell Carrington Place isn’t one to ask for much. At age 94, the soft-spoken man is grateful for the life he has lived and is a person who treasures family above all else. This past Christmas, Ken’s life took an unexpected and exciting turn when he got the chance to hug the adult grandson he had never met before — thanks to Chartwell’s partnership with Wish of a Lifetime Canada.
The reunion between the two men began months earlier when Ken’s adopted grandson, Sean, reached out to his biological family with a surprise phone call to his uncle Dennis. Sean’s birth records had provided him with the first clue, leading him to the McFarland family in Vernon, BC. He explained that he had been adopted into a loving family as an infant, but over time had longed to know more about his birth family. After a series of phone exchanges between family members—who had only recently learned of Sean’s existence—Sean and his uncle Dennis met up in Ottawa while on a visit to see his daughter with his wife.
Upon learning of his grandson, a 51-year-old husband, father and physician assistant for CFB Petawawa in Ontario, Ken’s dream of meeting Sean began to form. After hearing of his aspiration, his residence’s General Manager, Carmen, took steps to nominate Ken for a Wish of a Lifetime. Ken’s wish was granted, and plans were made for Sean to visit with his grandfather and family for a week over Christmas.
As the day drew closer, the anticipation and excitement grew stronger. Chartwell Carrington Place made plans for a special family dinner and a tour of several meaningful landmarks for Ken in Vernon, BC, and the surrounding area. On the opposite coast, Sean juggled his busy military schedule, and with the blessing of his family, made plans to fly across the country for his long-awaited reunion with his grandfather. On a snowy December day, Sean’s van pulled up outside Ken’s residence; inside, a long-lasting hug and a quiet outpouring of love and affection was shared between a grandfather and his grandson.
Ken and Sean spent most of the week getting to know one another and hearing all about each other’s respective lives. They combed through photo albums, looking at pictures of Sean’s late mother and grandmother, as Ken recounted stories of their lives together. As with all family reunions, they must eventually come to an end, but what remains are treasured memories of the time spent together. Ken and Sean will surely carry these special moments in their hearts forever.