My mother died in April. She suddenly became very confused, fell several times, was breathless. It was at the height of the first wave of covid, and my sister and I weren’t able to visit as often as usual to help, due to restrictions.
My poor dad therefore had less help than usual too.
Looking back at her symptoms, I think mum had covid. She died within 5 days of going to hospital. She wasn’t tested, so although we hadn’t been allowed to visit initially, we were at least able to be with her when she died.
The day after she died, dad became more confused.
We thought it might be the effects of shock, grief, exhaustion, and we supported him. Within 5 days he was in hospital too, confused, but nobody sure why.
He was so agitated he wouldn’t let nurses near him, wouldn’t accept treatment, so despite their rules of no visiting they allowed us to take turns of several hours to come in one day to see if he could settle for us and accept some treatment, food, fluid.
He was more settled with us, but he didn’t know who we were, had no idea why we were trying to help him.
We asked for a covid swab as he was coughing. It came back positive so we weren’t allowed to see him again.
It was another week before he died. A week of hearing how confused and agitated he was while we prepared for mums funeral. She was cremated on the Saturday. Restrictions for us at the time meant only myself, my sister and nephew could be present. Dad was too unwell to take part in any way.
The following day, the hospital phoned to say dad was dying. If we went we would not be allowed in the room with him. We would also be exposing ourselves to covid entering the ward. We decided we couldn’t do it. He wouldn’t know we were there, we had cremated mum the day before, we didn’t want either of us to become unwell next. It was too much.
Dad didn’t die until the Tuesday. None of us were with him. He’d been so confused, agitated and alone.
His cremation was the same small affair because of the restrictions. Same coffin, same flowers, same minister, same mourners, just 2 weeks apart.
It’s been 7 months and life has a way of pushing you along. I got back to work after a month or so, and I carry on.
I still feel bad about not being with dad when he died, although I know he wouldn’t have known if I’d gone to watch from outside the room, and that I never set the rules around visiting or funerals etc.
Covid feels a particularly cruel way to lose loved ones.
I’m still shocked they both went so quickly, and so close together. I still think of them every day. I often cry. And every now and then, something happens that makes me wobble a bit more than usual, like a birthday, or Christmas coming up.
I graduated last week. They would have been proud, but they’re not here to tell about it.