Gerda Cole is a 98-year-old Ontario woman who got the best Mother’s Day surprise gift she could ever imagine. She miraculously reunited with her daughter after eight decades of separation. We’re very happy to share the wonderful story of Gerda Cole and her daughter Sonya Grist.


Gerda Cole was a young girl when she escaped persecution in her native Vienna, Austria. In 1939, Cole’s parents sent her to live in England to avoid Jewish Persecution. forced to give up her firstborn child during World War II. When she turned 18, she gave birth to her daughter, Sonya Grist.

A refugee committee in England advised her to place baby Sonya for adoption due to her economic situation. Hence, she was forced to give her child up for adoption during World War 2. Then, Cole and her child separated. Later, an English Family adopted Sonya Grist.


“I had very limited personal education, and this, combined with wartime, left me no recourse but to have Sonya adopted under the advice of the refuge committee,” Gerda explained. “The condition was not to have any further connection with the child.”

Stephen Grist, Sonya’s son, was doing genealogy research for securing Austrian citizenship for himself and his family. He was unable to locate any death records for Gerda. So Stephen contacted Cole’s son and her son informed him that Gerda was alive and well and living in Revera Kennedy Lodge Long Term Care Home in Canada.


“I was fully expecting to find eventually some record of death,” he said on Saturday. “In the end, I found Gerda’s stepson, and they told me that Gerda is alive and well and living in a home in Canada. That was such a shock in the system. It changed everything.”

“I just thought, ‘Oh my God, that’s just blown my mind,’” said Stephen. “The idea that her mother was still alive and she would have the opportunity to meet her was so exciting it just threw us all for a loop. When I told my mother that [Gerda] was still alive, she just said, ‘I want to get on an airplane to Canada right now and give her a big hug.'”

After Long 80 Years Of Separation Gerda reunited with her daughter on her 98th Birthday 

Although it took a few months for him to arrange a visit, Sonya, now 80 years old, and Stephen finally got the opportunity to fly to Toronto to meet Gerda. Coincidently, they reunited with Gerda when it was her 98th birthday.

Don’t wait until tomorrow before it is too late, if you want to live, live now, not tomorrow or the day after,” Cole said. “It’s all the advice I have to give.”

They couldn’t stop smiling and holding one another when they reunited. Sonya was super-excited to finally meet the mother she assumed had passed away years ago! For Gerda, meeting her long-lost daughter after eight decades of separation was the best birthday gift she could ever ask for. Cole yawped in excitement and repeated the words “80 years.” Sonya retorted jokingly, “Don’t emphasize my age.”

“Thank you all for coming and sharing this wonderful experience with me. I am so overjoyed to be able to say, ‘my daughter,’” Cole said on Saturday. “It means so much to be able to live to see these moments.”

“When I heard, I just couldn’t believe it,” she said. “This must be … a miracle. It means so much to be able to live to see this moment.”

Gerda and Sonya spent the rest of the day talking and dancing with one another during the reunion party.

source : Inspire More


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