At 80, Maria Teresa Cobar never thought she would get married. Born in Guatemala, Maria immigrated to the United States as a single mother at the age of twenty-seven. Maria worked as a nanny and housekeeper for many years and dated different men but, in her words, “never found the right man.”
That changed when Maria met Carlos Suarez back in February. The two met when Suarez moved into the room across the hall at the Miami nursing home Maria has lived in since 2009. They were attracted to each other right from the start.
“When she came out with her walker in front of me, I thought, ‘Not bad,’”, Suarez said. “And when she came by, I said, ‘I’m not letting her get away.’”
Suarez was born in Cuba and immigrated to the U.S. with his wife and son in 1960 and started a jewelry business, which his nephew currently runs. Suarez was made a widower in 2006 but remained hopeful he would find love again.
Maria and Suarez began to attend activities together, as well as watching the news and sunsets together. The two held hands whenever possible and soon earned themselves the nickname “the lovebirds.”
Suarez shared the idea about marrying Maria with his granddaughter, Katrina. “He said ‘I’m already past the age of playing games. I shouldn’t wait,’” Katrina said.
Maria also shared her thoughts about Suarez with a family member. She told her daughter, Ana, that “Men like him do not exist anymore.”
Suarez’s proposal was simple; he suggested one day, “Let’s get married.”
On Nov. 10, they did. Flowers and decorations were provided by Maria’s daughter and the nursing home supplied balloons and the ceremony space. Maria and Suarez exchanged vows in Spanish and toasted their marriage with non-alcoholic sparkling cider. Nursing home employees pooled resources to surprise the couple with a mariachi band.
“It’s not every day that you get to witness love like this, and especially at this stage in life,” said Ilene Zweig, an executive director for Plaza Health Network Foundation. “The fact that Maria never thought this day would be possible and we were able to play a part in making it a reality really warms my heart.”
“It was just so nice to see something so sweet,” Katrina Suarez said.
Maria and Carlos now live in the same room and rather than having a honeymoon, they traveled together for the first time to Ana Cobar’s house for Thanksgiving.
Maria believed she would live her life alone but now offers “thanks to God for finding love with someone who was worth waiting for.”
“They’re such wonderful people,” Ana said of the couple. “They found their soul mates. It shows that there’s no age limit for love.”