Dad died NOT of covid

My sister and I kept our 93 year old Dad in his own home, which is what he wanted, as he got more and more frail. Then a medical emergency (not Covid) we could not manage meant he was taken into hospital last March and we could not see him. 16 days later he died. I find it so difficult to accept that he didn’t see any of his family in his last 16 days when we had seen him twice a week for his last 3 years. The hospital had decided he was at ‘end of life’ and moved him 12 hours before he died to a nursing home which would not allow visitors until their GP had also designated Dad at ‘end of life’ - that was too late! The media seems to have forgotten that families lost loved ones in hospital OTHER than from Covid. I still get tearful when I think of him there on his own for the last weeks of his life, I know the nurses will have been lovely to him but it does not compensate for how I still feel.

Dear KathVal, I’m so sorry to hear about the death of your Dad, it’s awful to lose your Dad whatever the age, he knew that you loved him, which is the most important thing, I’m sure he would have been well looked after, but I know that won’t make you feel any better, this last 18 months has been awful for so many people in so many ways, try and remember the good times, you did everything you possibly could and he will have known that, sending love Jude xx

Hello Jude, I know I will feel better about this eventually. I was prepared for Dad’s death it’s just that I wanted to be there at the end to comfort him and that’s what I find difficult to rationalise. Kath

Hi KathVal, I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my beautiful Mum aged 91, 19th July 2021. She did die of Covid, but my issues are very similar to yours. She had four hospitalizations in a 6 week period, I wasn’t allowed to visit, she couldn’t use her mobile, she became delirious. I had one precious FaceTime a week before she died. I was her carer for 15 years, but full time the last few. I really felt the loss of communication with her, and the staff. I tried to advocate for her, as I had always done - she was very deaf- but for once had to leave her in someone else’s hands. Her last admission was Covid 10 days before she died. I too wasn’t allowed to visit until she was deemed end of life, by which time she was unconscious. I spent those last 3 days with her , just so traumatic as she struggled to breathe. I knew she was end of life 2 months before, but no one would listen to me. It was difficult just even getting through to the ward. I know they were overwhelmed, they did their best, but I just felt powerless. A week before she died, she managed somehow to ring me on her mobile (I trained her!) but it was very distressing, she was delirious and thought a tramp was sleeping at the end of the bed! I managed to calm and reassure her, she wanted to ring the police. At least I was still the person she thought of first and wanted to speak to.

So yes, I feel your pain - Mum died ironically on freedom day. I don’t think people understand the impact that Covid has had, not the disease itself, but visiting restrictions, being with your loved one when they die - it’s really brutal and traumatic, and KathVal, I totally get and understand what you are saying. You are the first person I have chatted with who gets it too - thank you for posting on the forum - it has helped me not to think I am being silly - Hugs to you x

Hello Kazzad, I am sorry to hear that you have also been through such a harrowing time. I know there are so many families who have suffered like we have. I am pleased you were able to be with your mum at the very end even though she may not have known you were there. You must take comfort in the fact that you were there. Once Dad went into hospital I felt like our responsibility to him had been snatched away and we were ‘dismissed’ and became passive bystanders in our Dad’s life. I fully appreciate hospital staff have had a really difficult juggling act to perform in the pandemic but the knock-on effect was that anyone other than the patients became unimportant.
My sister and I ask ourselves if we could have done anything differently in those lost few weeks. Perhaps we just have to learn that no-one is to blame for what happened, including ourselves.
Thank you for responding to me, I hope we will begin to recover from the experience in time. It’s been good to have this conversation. Look after yourself. Kath

Kath, yes that’s exactly it - I was always responsible for Mum, and probably the same as you, lockdown even more so. You articulate it so well - there was no time for anything but the patients and I felt my views, input, everything, was just ignored and I had no control. Like you, I managed to keep Mum at home until the final battle. Yes I do spend a lot of time going over and over, what could I have done differently. I hope she didn’t feel I abandoned her. Guilt I suppose is part of grieving. No one is to blame, you are right. I am very ashamed to say I was quite short with Mum the day she went into hospital, we didn’t know she had Covid, she had gone off her legs completely, but wanted to use the commode. I just couldn’t manage to do it and got very frustrated. I tried to move the commode and it banged her leg, cutting it (very fragile skin and on warfarin). She howled in pain and I will never forget that. I know I was trying my best in impossible circumstances, but I just keep returning to that, like it blotted out all the care and good things I had done for her.

Thank you so much for replying, I wish you and your family well and I am sure we will both feel better, given time. We must appreciate all we did to keep them safe and at home, it wasn’t easy for either of us, I am sure. What a huge achievement for us both.
Hugs to you Kath, Karen x