ARGYLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New York’s latest relaxed nursing home visitation rules mean many facilities are opening their doors again. Exactly one year apart was one crazy COVID year too long for good friends Pamela Brayton and Teena Knowlton.

“This is great! I almost forgot what she looked like,” says Knowlton.

Teena Knowlton lives in the Washington Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing. The home has been closed to visitors since New York first shut down March 2020, which made Tuesday’s visit all the more thrilling,

“She was so excited, she called the front desk like four times before I even got here,” says Brayton.

“I couldn’t sleep the night before, because I was so excited about seeing her,” Knowlton says to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton.

She says she doesn’t have many living family left, so Brayton has been her one big connection to the outside world. She says even with phone calls and video chats, a year in isolation was soul-crushing.

“Very sad and very lonely. The staff here help a lot, but it’s not like having friends and family around,” Knowlton says sadly.

Now, the hardest part for Brayton, and other Washington Center visitors — having to walk away.

“I was anxious at first, because when I see her I just wanna reach out and grab her, but I did okay,” says another visitor Tina Wilson while choking back tears. She had just gotten to see her best friend Peggy again for the first time.

“This whole year has just been awful, especially for those families who lost someone in a nursing home and couldn’t be with them. I lost an aunt in a nursing home, and that was very difficult,” she goes on to say.

“We are looking forward to sitting outside together in the sun and just enjoying some time there, and hopefully before too long, maybe before the end of the year, we will get to hug goodbye again. That would be nice,” says Brayton as she leaves her visit with Knowlton.