Losing your parents and Covid

I have never posted before, but i wondered if anyone else had lost a parent to Covid this year? I have spent the last 18 years caring for my mum and dad. My dad died four years ago from an old war wound (shrapnel moved and caused an infection) . They lived with me and I was able to hold his hand as he passed away and had some solace from that. But 3 years ago I had to let my mum go into a care home as she had mixed demntia, she was living with me but I couldnt go on when she started wandering at night. Although she had dementia for 11 years she still mostly knew who I was and had a very happy life (mostly) in an amazing care home. My problem is my grief is bitter because she died of covid, I was not allowed to be with her, it was in April and the rules were very strict. It torments me that she was frightened, in the past when she was anxious the home would call me so I could go and reassure her. I managed to tell her on the phone that we all loved her and it was okay to go and be with my dad as she took her last breath and everyone says she heard me but if she did then she was conscious enough to be frightened.
To add to the grief we were only given two options for the funeral a ceremony outside for five people and no online screening or a ceremony in the chapel that was screened. So I chose inside so everyone could take part but this meant I was not allowed to go to my own mums funeral. There was also no viewing, no choice of coffin and she was placed in a body bag inside. No flowers were allowed because of the risk of infection either.
I am planning a memorial for next year but I am so gutted every day I am reminded as we fight this awful virus that she is a statistic and there are over 40,000 in the uk just like me but that doesn’t seem to ease my grief.
Ive tried to just get on, decorating, gardening and walking etc so I can function but it doesnt let up. Everyday I feel sad at the slightest thing and cry in private, I have a wonderful husband and family but with out my parents I feel lost. I carry on for my family, someone said when I tried to explain it would be self indulgent to give up, i dont think they understand . I’m not giving up I have even wrote loads of poems to try to let some of the anguish out, it helps but I have lost my confidence too. I can’t be the only person who is self obsessed about losing their parents. Anyway I will post the poem below in case it helps someone, we really are rubbish in expressing our grief in this country aren’t we.
SAD
What a stupid statement its plain for all to see
No one really misses you half as much as me.
Sitting in the sunshine watching all the birds
Feeling sad and lonely seems really quite absurd,
Tell people I was lucky to have my mum and dad
Trouble is, now your gone it makes me feel so bad.
The more you love the more the loss
Such an ironic twist
Loving someone deeply
Means their deeply missed.
Just don’t feel that anyone could love me like you do
Overlooking all my faults, I know this much is true
Must not wallow don’t give in, be grateful for your lot
Luckier than most I’d say, try not to lose the plot.
Dad would say don’t get upset
Try not to feel so bad
But mum i miss you desperately
And that just makes me sad.

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Hello, I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve lost both your parents in the last few years. It is sad to read that your mum died of Covid, and you weren’t allowed to be with her or go to the funeral - this is something that can make grief even harder to deal with for many people. It is not self-indulgent at all to grieve - it’s a natural process and you need to go through it in your own way at your own pace - trying to avoid feelings or rush through grief unfortunately only tends to make things worse in the long run.

Thanks for sharing your poem with us. Writing things down - whether in poems, journals or here on this community, can be a good way to get those emotions off your chest.

There are lots of supportive people here who understand what it is like to lose a parent. You’ve asked if there are others here who’ve lost a parent to Covid - yes, we certainly have a few users in that situation. I will tag a few of them here in case any of them would like to reply to you, or in case you would like to look up their posts: @RCB, @Abdullah, @TCT, @Tasha, @Starryowl.

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Oh @Magpie I hear you! And I absolutely feel your grief. It resonates deeply. My Mum passed away age 75 on 19th April in hospital. She had a pulmonary embolism & covid 19. I have been through every emotion in the book & I have concluded that I’ll never feel at peace with how we lost Mum. Life has been so incredibly unfair to so many and it is something I have had to work very hard to stop from taking over my life. There are still times when I howl at the unfairness but I am learning to cope better with those times and not let them take over. The hours spent crying are hours I don’t spend with my children, or looking after myself. Distractions are wonderful but I also balance these with acknowledgement that it sucks. And I’m allowed to think that it sucks.

I had to say goodbye in much the same way as you - via video call (but she couldn’t see me). I too hope with all my being that she heard me. She hung on for 3 hours after the hospital phoned me to say she only had a few minutes. I believe that was because she didn’t want to go. I share your fear that she was frightened and I feel so bad that she couldn’t speak to me, but I just hope that she took comfort in hearing my voice.

The funeral experience you had sounds truly horrendous. I cannot imagine how that came to be the case for you. Our funeral director could not have been more supportive and while we were restricted to very close family (meaning 6 plus my brother’s carer), we did get to choose a coffin. My Dad also got to sit with the coffin for a period the day before.

It has just been the worst of times and part of me can’t believe it happened to my Mum. You are living proof that your Mum was not just a statistic. She lives on in you.

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Hi magpie
I lost my dad when I was 27 and he was 53. It was awful but I still had my mum who I adored.
Last june the worst thing happened and my mum who was just 74 had a massive bleed on the brain and died the next day.
Life is awful without parents. I’m also obsessed about being without them for the next 30 years of my life.
I agree with all you say and I’m sorry to read about what happened to you.
Cheryl x

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Magpie, I am so sorry for your loss and for all of the emotions which come with it!! Please know that your reactions are completely natural and something so many of us can sympathise with. I lost my Dad to covid in April after he battled with it for over a month. I feel the same guilt of not being able to visit him, be with him as he passed or give him the funeral and send-off that he deserved. Even typing that is making me teary. I think it is so important for us to remind ourselves that our parents would have known us well and would know that we will have done all we could to help and be there for them. When I cry about not being able to be there in person at the end I imagine how upset my Dad would be if he knew how much pain that point was causing me as family was his life and he’d want nothing but happiness for us. Having said that, I’m crying as I type that too- but we need to accept that the emotions will remain strong for a long time. Your poem was lovely and also made such a strong point that the more love you feel the bigger the loss feels. What a huge reminder of how important our parents were and always will be to us!!

I think that loss of any loved one at any stage is so hard to process but covid has definitely added a further level of pain with all of the restrictions to being there for that person- something none of us could have contemplated before this evil virus hit! I don’t know about you but I also find many people’s views on the virus and restrictions or jokes about the pandemic really triggering. I remind myself that it’s effected the whole world and that each individual has been effected by it differently. Some people also use humour as a coping mechanism. Still not always easy to manage at times though.

Keeping busy has been my main help but with restrictions that isn’t as easy. Are you getting any emotional support? I recently started some bereavement telephone sessions with Cruse. They contact me fortnightly and talk through the situation and my emotions which has been really useful. It gives set time to talk about it and cry about it and I think that’s important. They also have an online chat facility for support at any time. Not sure if this is something you might find useful?

Please feel free to message me at any time or ask me any questions. As you say- we as humans can be rubish at expressing our grief but it’s so important to be able to in order to work through it over time. Thinking of you!!

Tasha xx

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Oh magpie that’s just so awful. I can’t imagine what you are going through in the grief of losing your mum that way. Take comfort in the fact she will have heard your reassuring loving voice, and that will have made her as calm as possible. That’s all you could do, and it was enough. My heart breaks for you to lose her and not be able to give her a proper send off. My mum passed away on August and I feel very grateful that we could have 30 people there, 5 must have been so hard. You will be able to give her a lovely memorial next year, when this hell is over. You are in my thoughts x

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I am so grateful for the replies I have been getting, having not tried this before I was a quite apprehensive. Such lovely kind words and support. I have spoken to a relative recently and when it was almost too much Samaritans. Tried Cruise but couldn’t get a reply, so many people need support. But this forum has made me feel that its okay to grieve. I cant thank you enough. Just talking about it has lifted some weight off my shoulders. What lovely people you are to share your stories and still have strength to be supportive.

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I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of your mum, particularly in such difficult circumstances too. I lost my lovely dad right at the start of this and found the restrictions heartbreaking although didn’t face as many as you. As a parent myself I know the greatest thing is to hear your child’s voice and there blessing to let go, I pray you can one day understand how reassuring this would have been.
The fact that over 40k have lost loved ones doesn’t invalidate your grief. You have every right to feel the way you do and to grieve in whatever way it presents itself. I didn’t realize until losing my dad what a significant part of me he was and at the age of nearly 40 how much I still desperately need him. Anyone who thinks your in anyway self indulgent doesn’t have a clue. What may be seen as giving up maybe just taking much needed time out to process losing such a significant part of you. Sounds like your doing all the right things but give yourself permission and be unapologetic in grieving over such a profound loss x

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Dear @Magpie, I am so sorry you lost your lovely mum, and your lovely dad a few years earlier. Like your mum, my dad got Covid and he died alone in hospital, his death is too horrific for me to talk about in detail, but I know exactly what you mean when you say you feel tormented that she was frightened and you were not there.

People expect us to get over losing our parents quickly, they think that because they are our parents and are expected to die before us, that somehow it is easier to get over, if only they knew how difficult it is. Please don’t let others tell you how you should or should not be.

I think that’s a wonderful poem you have written. Thank you for sharing it.

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Dear Starryowl, thankyou so much for your kind words and thoughts, it has helped more than I thought to admit to others in a similar position that I am not okay about the way mum died. It is a particularly unique situation when you lose someone you love to covid, my husband has a long term illness and awaiting two major operations so we have had to talk about what happens if one of us gets covid too. I am 62 but fairly fit except for mild asthma so I am the backstop in our family, despite that my husband is enormously supportive particularly emotionally he is an ex trained samaritan. However, I think it is sometimes easier to talk to someone not directly connected.
I’m so sorry that you lost your mum this way too and as you say the way they died is never going to be acceptable, I think we will need a national day of mourning when this is all over to help those whose loved ones have died in such difficult circumstances. I am certainly going to hold a vintage afternoon tea to celebrate mums life and act as a kind of family reunion, I think what ever we can do to come to terms is always a good thing. Thank you again and please take care of yourself too, you are a very kind person. All best wishes Shurls

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Dear Cheryl
To lose your parents so young is just devastating and in your mums case so suddenly, if I can feel so floored at 62 I cannot imagine how you coped. Its not an obsession to think of you will manage without them especially as you will have many more years than some of us to cope. I was reading about parental loss and it was the first time I heard that it is a life changing ordeal that fundamentally alters your mindset and position in the world. I had not thought of it in those terms, you would think at my age I would have accepted what happens. What ever age you are that child inside you longs to have them back and have that reassurance that someone has your back when times are tough and lets face it times are very tough. To even be able to reply to me shows what a strong and caring person you are, I hope you find some solace from chatting in this forum and hearing others stories. It is a revelation to me, such a feeling of caring and empathy that I felt was missing, in these times we all need that. I hope that you have some family members and friends to help too and know your caring words have meant at lot to me.
Virtual hugs Shurl

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Dear Tasha, such a lovely response and again knowing that someone understands the particularly difficult circumstances when you lose someone from covid. It is a bitter pill to swallow and not one I had ever invisaged even though I worked in the NHS for 17 years.
Yes I have found others attitudes to this virus very difficult at times, their blasé attitudes and jokes are very cutting. Just venturing out after the first lockdown was an ordeal with people getting to close to me and then looking at me wearing a mask (before it was advised) as if I was being over the top. I almost felt like wearing a rather aggressive tshirt that said “back off my mum died of covid” but I think that was my anger part of grief coming out.
It has made me realise that even in normal times that many people in the street are mourning everyday but of course we dont know it. I cried in the supermarket the other day because a shop assistant was so kind to me but I explained to her why and how it was appreciated andnthen took time to go and tell her manager what a great member of staff she is. The kindness of your words and others in this forum have moved me to tears not sad ones but relief and reassurance that people really do care and that our loved ones are not just statistics. I hope that you find some relief from talking in this forum too, it certainly seems that you have found that from your words.
Again many thanks and know that your words have made a real difference.
Many good wishes Shurl

Dear Abdullah thank you so much for your caring message, it is horrific isn’t it and like you I just cant go into details about circumstances and to be honest try not think of it in detail. People do think especially if you are older that it’s just they way of things, being in my sixties it’s almost as if “well what did you expect”, but if you have been close and loved someone deeply it doesn’t matter what age you are it’s still hits you like a truck.
I couldn’t really grieve at first As I had my family living with me (my daughter in law was shielding and she and my son needed to be safe and have help with their three year old). I felt I couldn’t cry too much in front of them, not sure why but didn’t want to frighten my grand daughter. They did lift my spirits intially though, it was when they went home that I really started to feel it.
Knowing that other people who have lost someone in these really difficult circumstances understands how you feel does help, peoples kind words in the face of their own suffering is a great testament to human understanding and compassion and I thank you for yours. I hope that reading some of these replies I got helped you too.
Please take care of yourself we are, as they say, not out of the woods yet.
With many thanks and good wishes
Shurl

Thankyou.
The impact of losing your parents just cant be estimated. You know it will happen at some point but you just cant prepare for it. Jim glad that the site has given you some reassurance and comfort. I dint know what I would have done without it at times.
Cheryl x

Dear Struggling, your kind and wise words were really helpful, losing anyone from covid is a uniquely awful way for them to go. Nearly everyday we are reminded by news and figures etc of the very specifics of what they died of. Not that when someone dies of something else its not horrific, but its not usually shoved in your face on a daily basis.
I do think mum heard me because as I said it was okay for her to go and be with my dad she sighed and went, maybe coincidences but I do take sime solace from that. I was privileged to be sitting with my Dad on my own, holding his hand when he passed. I told him how much he was loved but it was okay to go and that I would take care of mum, he did the same thing, sighed and slipped away. I am overwhelmed that people have taken the time to comfort me despite their own grief and have showed such understanding, it really has helped.
You are right of course just because so many others have lost their loved ones it does not invalidate your individual loss. Because I had not had the chance to talk to someone who lost a loved one in these circumstances I didn’t feel much understanding. Most people dont even want to confront the subject of death let alone the circumstances but this forum shows me that others feel the need to “get it off their chest” too. In fact I am suprised how cathartic it is to talk about it, almost as if some bit of the weight of the grief has lifted. Hope that doent sound too over the top.
As you said processing the grief is a good thing,its not wallowing or self indulgent, in fact shutting it away permanently just causes more problems later. I have more time to think about things as I retired to look after my parents, I keep myself busy with a multitude of hobbies, diy and gardening but I think I needed time to think about my mum and dad. I will plant a tree for each of them this Christmas, the woodland trust has a plot overlooking the village where we lived, and hold a memorial afternoon tea in celebration of mums life when it is safe to do so. These markers I think will help overcome the grimness of her passing and bring back some of the happy memories and shared experiences that wevare all lacking at the moment. Thank you again for your kind and insightful words they have made a real difference to me and I hope you have found some solace too.
Take care of yourself in these difficult times.
Many good wishes
shurl

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Dear Shurl,

Yes, we should definitely process our grief, and put no time limit on it. At first, before I came to this forum, I was getting so agitated as it had been a few months and I wasn’t feeling any better, and in some ways worse, but knowing this is normal was a relief.

It’s good that you have a caring husband who was a samaritan, and that despite his health problems, he is there for you. I have a caring mum, and we are there for one another. It really does help having that person that you can rely on, sadly many here don’t. I think holding a memorial tea afternoon is a great idea, and it is something that your mum would have been very proud of.

I hope today is a better day for you.

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Hi there. I am truly sorry for your loss. I also lost my Dad to Covid. He was aged 61 and died March 30th. His death and all the circumstances leading up to it and after still feel so unreal and unjust. I know this will really take some hard work to get over. Its very hard i have learned losing a parent and with Covid as the cause its maybe made it worse. I pray that you are granted strength to get through this.

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Dear Magpie :yellow_heart: I too am so very sorry to hear of the loss of your father, and now your mother in the circumstances that are just horrific this year. Who could have ever imagined we would all be living in a nightmare that is so real, you’d think it was a Hollywood horror movie, but it’s not, it is indeed tragically real. I lost my father too in April to Covid. He was being treated in hospital for another matter, but, like so many others, caught it in there. I too, like everyone here, am finding it hard to cope with. I’ve lost the person I loved most in the world, and I will just exist until my time comes. We were not allowed to see him, he wasn’t strong enough to contact us, we were frantically phoning a Covid ward trying to find out what was going on, hardly ever getting through, getting cut off after the dreadful coronavirus message EVERY TIME YOU CALLED. He must have had a DNR placed on him without us knowing, he was put on end of life without us knowing, he died alone as this heinous virus took him from us before his time, like so many other poor souls. We weren’t allowed to touch his coffin, my brothers wanted to be his pallbearers but not allowed, only 10 at the funeral. The outside world do not realise the impact of this on the families left behind. I have experienced close loss before, but to lose someone like this is off the scale and although everyone has been so, so kind, it’s only people who are walking my path who really understand. The only things that are getting me through the day, apart from this lovely forum, are social media groups for people like us. If you are on there, join them, it’s painful at first but it will help to know you’re not alone, message me if you’d like some links to the ones I’m in xx I’m in a few, and go to the different ones depending on which mood I’m in, sad, angry etc. It’s the ONLY thing that has helped me. I don’t know what I’d have done without them. I don’t join in much, but just reading helps. Sending you big hugs from the bottom of my broken heart, to yours, sorry I’ve rambled on x :yellow_heart: :yellow_heart: :yellow_heart: :yellow_heart: :yellow_heart: :yellow_heart:

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I’m so sorry to hear your terrible story. I hope you will find comfort in this group, though it may take time. Were in this together.

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Dear TCT
What a kind reply, I’m so sorry for your loss too, it is like a horror film I agree at times so unreal and at others just so gut wrenchingly real. I have taken great comfort from the replies I have received and finding that others too feel like me. It is not a normal grief, to be parted from those you love so dearly at such a deeply personal and emotional moment is beyond explanation and only those who have experienced it seem to truly understand.
I have not found any covid grief groups and would appreciate the links. I will pick a time when I feel I have the wherewithal to read them.
Posting on this site and sharing my mum’s poem and then posting a different poem for my father on Facebook on Remembrance Day seemed to lift some weight off me. It will take a lot of time before any of us can ever rest easy i think and the daily numbers and reminders just keep coming. The worst is not being able to hug people who so desperately need that comfort.
I’m keeping up my walking challenge to myself, if nothing else it exhausts me to the point where I can’t stay awake.
Thankyou for your kind words and sharing your story it does help. Here’s hoping that the light at the end of the tunnel gets brighter.
Take care of yourself with many thanks and a virtual hug.
Shirley

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