My friend Briony’s mum died today. She didn’t die of COVID-19 but the current situation with the UK in lockdown no doubt contributed to it.
She was old. Briony’s a bit older than me. And so her mum would be classed in the risk groups. Those of you who’ve been following my blog a while will know that Briony is a very close friend who has stage four cancer. She’s currently receiving chemo. This puts her squarely in the most at risk groups with compromised immune systems.
Briony lives in London near us. Her mum lives up north. She and her sister had tried to get in touch with their mum today but couldn’t get through. They’d last talked yesterday. But they knew something was wrong.
They got their uncle to go round and he couldn’t get a response. So the police were called. When they got in, they found her in a bad state. The paramedics were called. But because of COVID fears, everyone had to stay out.
Briony said her sister had to wait outside as she wasn’t allowed in, whilst her mum died inside. They couldn’t save her.
Briony knew this was going on but couldn’t leave the house because of her compromised immune system. Her sister crying on the phone. Knowing that their mum was dying without her loved ones. Knowing she couldn’t go to her.
I feel so sad for Briony to have to be isolated in her grief. She has her husband but I can’t imagine what it’s like to feel trapped at home when you want to go and comfort someone. Well, I guess I do because I can’t comfort her. I’m going to try and put a care package together for her and leave it on their doorstep tomorrow. I just can’t imagine. It doesn’t seem real.
This is the reality of what we are facing now. The NHS is reaching a crisis point. Some would say it already has. But I think it’s going to get worse. I fear for us all. Not to say it’s all doom and gloom but I worry that we are going to see it get a lot worse before it gets better.
The reality that we can’t go to loved ones when they need us. The reality that an old lady dies with only strangers trying to save her. That a friend with cancer has to stay indoors and not go to her dying mum – or her mum’s funeral – because of the dangers of this virus.
I already know several people who have had it. We are already getting used to lockdown life. In the main it is okay but I fear that maybe our jobs will go. I fear that maybe our parents will go.
This is the first death of someone I’ve known, even if I only met her once at their wedding. But I fear it won’t be the last.