CHICAGO (CBS) — For residents of nursing homes, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of a coronavirus vaccine now being distributed across Illinois and the rest of the nation.

First they have to get through a long, dark, lonely winter; but there’s a ray of sunshine first at one memory care facility in the western burbs.

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CBS 2 Morning Insider Lauren Victory unwraps the holiday surprise.

They say eyes are the window to the soul, and at this window in time, 90-year-old memory care patient Dorothy can see her daughter, but may not understand why glass separates them.

“I live very close. I would come in a couple times; two, three times a week” said her daughter, Maria Wachholz.

The virus put a halt to those frequent indoor visits at Terra Vista in Oakbrook Terrace.

So to bring their love from inside outside, each resident made a secret personalized gift.

Eighty-one-year-old Meredith watched the reaction from her daughter in California as she opened the gift of artwork.

“I will hang it up on my wall,” her daughter said.

After opening her mother’s gift, Maria Wachholz said “it’s very special and we love it.”

“We’ll cherish it for a long time,” she said.

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Speaking of a long time, nine months is while to go without hugging mom; but beyond the glare of the window separating mother and daughter is a glimmer of hope.

“We just are excited and awaiting our on-site clinical date,” said Natalie McFarland, executive director of Terra Vista of Oakbrook Terrace.

McFarland said she’s in and out of meetings, preparing staff for the arrival of the vaccine.

“We’re registered with the CDC vaccination program. We’ve been partnered with Walgreens pharmacies,” she said.

Immunizing is likely to start at Terra Vista right after Christmas.

“It’s what we feel is the safest and most effective way to get us back to normalcy,” McFarland said.

Which hopefully includes the old way to do visits.

“Give her a big hug and get to see her whenever I want,” Wachholz said.

December 28th is the day circled on the calendar for long-term care facilities to begin COVID vaccinations. Walgreens will make three visits to Terra Vista to make sure all residents and staff get the shot.

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Lauren Victory