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Travel brings Michael back home to Willowdale

Michael's sign for Maria reading 'Maria, I miss you'

It was curiosity that brought truck driver Michael to Australia from his native Ireland when he was 21.

But it’s love that saw him stay and make a life in Greater Western Sydney, most recently becoming one of the first residents at Bolton Clarke’s new Willowdale home at Denham Court.

Michael’s love story with wife Maria began in with a message on a coaster, slipped to an unsuspecting blonde one night at the Smithfield RSL. 

Some good dates, a short-lived break up and a public declaration of love by way of a large cardboard heart reading, ‘Maria, I miss you’ on the telephone pole near her street paved the way for countless other memories.

As someone who has travelled his whole life, Michael says some of his fondest and best life memories are of the couple’s travels -  whether up and down the NSW coast in the semi-trailer where he spent much of his working life to Hawaii, New Zealand, Vietnam and Europe, where they visited Michael’s native Ireland and Maria’s parents’ home in Poland.

Now, from his new home at Willowdale, he can see the house they lived in together and pop home for dinner whenever he likes. Michael says the convenience of where he lives now is unbeatable.

“Maria still lives in our house, and I can be with her in about 10 minutes now. It’s a short trip in my wheelchair, or Maria can walk to come and visit me,” he explained.

“This place is brand new, it’s just like a hotel. The staff are brilliant and for me, the location is such a blessing.”

Willowdale opened on the 5 October and Michael says he was the second person through the front doors. He says the move has made the world of difference.

“Because I can’t walk or stand up, it was very difficult for Maria to handle me on my own. It was driving us mad, and it was very hard on our relationship,” he said.

Now, Michael says he can receive the care he needs while still being close to the love of his life.

“Now that I am here, we have our relationship back rather than her being my carer. She is finally able to relax a little bit and get part of her life back.”

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