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A woman who filmed a man helping his ailing wife on the beach was surprised when her video touched thousands.

Romantic movies often end after two lovers finally get together and start their lives, with the postscript: “And they lived happily ever after.”

We rarely, if ever, get to see what happily ever after really looks like. One Canadian woman captured what ‘happily ever after’ is when she filmed an elderly couple on the beach. While perhaps not glamorous, the sight was touching and beautiful.

Why a Woman Filmed an Older Couple on the Cape Breton Beach

couple holding hands and walking on a beach
Photo by Sam Williams on Unsplash

Beulah Chandler was admiring the ocean in her hometown of Port Hawkesbury, Cape Breton, when she saw something that caught her interest. An elderly couple was walking from the ocean towards the parking lot. The man had two beach chairs, and would move one forward ten feet while his wife, who was connected to an oxygen tank and wore a wide-brimmed hat, sat on the other one.

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When she gathered her strength, along with the physical support of her husband, she would stagger the ten feet to the next chair; then her husband would move the other chair ten feet in front, and so on until the couple made it to their car. The wife was clearly ailing, and her husband was happily helping her do what she enjoyed most — spending time on the beach. Beulah was so touched by the scene that she filmed it and posted it to Facebook, where it went viral. 

He’s taking care of the love of his life.

Beulah Chandler to her daughter, about her viral video

The couple Beulah saw on the beach that day were Duncan and Cathy Gillis. They had been visiting the beach for years, but when Cathy got sick with a lung disease called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, the couple found ways to overcome mobility issues and make sure they got to go to their favorite place as much as possible.

For Cathy, the calm energy and beauty of the ocean kept her in good spirits, despite her struggles. Unfortunately, Cathay passed away a few months after Beulah captured the touching moment on video. 

“She loved the calmness, and she loved putting her feet in the water,” Duncan Gillis said.

How a Video Brought Two Grieving Strangers Together

2 blue chairs on the sand on a beach
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Beulah Chandler, who filmed the viral video, has her own emotional connection to the Cape Breton beach. Hers, like Duncan’s, is also bittersweet and tinged with grief. Her oldest son, Joel, passed away in a car accident when he was 20 years old after an evening spent at the beach. When Beulah visits, she can feel her son’s energy and playful spirit — something that fills her with equal amounts of sadness and joy.

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The connection their lost loved ones had to the place brought Duncan and Beulah together, and the pair met for lunch at Duncan’s house and talked about the love they had shared, the loss they felt, and the gratitude they had for the beach and all of the memories it brought them. 

I think it’s going to remind me of all the good times Cathy and I had together. I’ll go back to that more than once in the next few years.

Duncan Gillis

While some people suggested that the video Beulah took was an invasion of privacy, Duncan disagrees. He is proud of the love that he and his wife shared, and happy to have a video that reflects that. For Beulah, the video serves as a constant reminder of the importance of tiny moments that define relationships and that can serve as an anchor in a moment of grief. 

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enjoy the little moments
“A good life is a collection of happy moments.” – Denis Waitley