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I Couldn’t Give My Mum A Hug

Written By: Gareth McAuley

I couldn’t give my dad a proper send off after his death.

The COVID-19 situation was laid bare to me when I couldn’t give my mum a hug when she needed it the most. My father passed away unexpectedly and naturally I wanted to comfort my mum.

She needed me, but I couldn’t take the risk, for her sake. Instead, when I arrived at her house I had to sit in the car, put down the window and talk to her through that. The deadly coronavirus has wiped out any kind of normality and it has left me, following my dad’s passing, with a range of emotions – anger, sadness and frustration. It’s horrendous, the toughest situation I’ve ever had to experience.

Although my father did not die from Covid-19, the ramifications of the virus hit my family hard.

My dad's passing away is still raw and emotional for me, and will take a while to process. My heart goes out to those people who are going through similar situations.

We weren’t able to give my dad the send-off he so thoroughly deserved and that hurts. There was no proper funeral service in a church, no opportunity for people who knew him well to pay their respects and no way for us as a family to grieve together. The minister was only able to conduct a short service by the grave with my mum, sister, brother-in-law and myself present; it was a surreal experience.

With flying out of the question I travelled the long road home by ferry.

I had to leave my wife and kids at home as they wouldn’t have been able to come into contact with my mum and sister, and that would have been hard for them. I went straight to my mum’s house, but rather than having dinner and staying the night there my sister brought dinner out on a tray to my car and I stayed the night in a hotel.

It was a comfort to me that my mum lived with my sister and her family and so she had much needed support from them when so many others in that situation might have experienced isolation on top of bereavement.

My dad’s passing away is still raw and emotional for me, and will take a while to process. My heart goes out to those people who are going through similar situations. When this is all over we’ll definitely be holding a proper thanksgiving service for my dad. And I can’t wait to give my mum the hug she thoroughly deserves

Written By: Gareth McAuley