Coronavirus News: Family has bittersweet reunion with dad on Father's Day

ROCKLEIGH, New Jersey (WABC) -- It was a very special Father's Day for a family in New Jersey after they got to see their dad in person for the very first time since March.

Deborah Maher and her brother finally got to visit with their father, 84-year-old Eugene Lacher, on Sunday.

Lacher had been in the hospital with late-stage Parkinson's and came to the Jewish Home at Rockleigh for rehab just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

On Sunday, families across New Jersey were finally allowed to physically see their loved ones in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

"It's been rough for him, he's gone from being a very independent person to kind of having everybody do everything for him, losing a child it wasn't been easy on him," Maher said.

On April 3, Lacher's son Jon died from COVID-19. The volunteer firefighter who lived in Nanuet with his wife and daughter was only 50 years old.

"My brother and I had to tell him over the phone, they gave him as much support as they could at the time," Maher said.

But she said not being there in person to comfort her dad was agonizing. She said the phone calls and FaceTimes were important.

"We could at least see him...his beard was getting longer, his hair getting longer," Maher said.

That's why this Father's Day was so special.

Only two people were allowed to visit and it had to be outside. But for their family, it was bittersweet to remember Jon and reconnect with their dad.

"He's a tough guy and we don't have a choice, we have to move forward, that's all we can do," she said.


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