Last week, my mum died. In just a few short minutes, she went from being a living, breathing human, to a mere number on the list of daily Covid stats. She’d been on a ventilator in ITU for three weeks, unconscious and fighting for her life. But then, on Thursday, her organs failed, and the machines were switched off. Her name was Mary and she was 74.
My overriding feeling is one of immense grief, obviously. No matter how old you are, nothing ever prepares you for losing your mum. But I also feel sadness that she had not been able to properly live her life for the past nine months, and then she died anyway. She got the call up for her vaccination just last week. It’s the kind of irony that would once have made us both laugh out loud.
My mum had her fateful encounter with Covid at the beginning of January after her body had been initially weakened by a stroke. While being checked out in hospital for any lasting neurological damage (there was none), she contracted the virus. Why did she suffer a stroke in the first place? I can’t help but wonder whether the fact that she’d been deprived of her active, fulfilled and happy lifestyle after almost a year of lockdowns and restrictions was to blame.
My grief at her death is made worse by the knowledge of how she spent her final year on earth. Not living with her usual vigour; there was no dancing, drinking, singing, Zumba-ing, eating out, seeing and hugging her kids; and grandkids, and with her husband of just four years, taking the frequent trips to sunnier climes that she loved so much.