Coronavirus: Shropshire woman’s appeal after both parents die from COVID-19
A woman from Shrewsbury who lost both of her parents to COVID-19 has described losing family to the virus as “devastating” and urged people to be vigilant in protecting each other from the virus.
Susan Docherty 62, and her husband John, 65, died within 9 days of each other at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital respectively in November 2020.
The couple’s daughter, Katie, has said the family were shocked at the sudden loss of their parents, who had been married for 44 years.
She has since urged people Shropshire to stick to the measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus.
“They both had underlying health issues, but they both had a good quality of life. My mum suffered badly from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and my dad had asthma. They were both super cautious and followed all the measures to keep them safe.
“I genuinely thought they had a common cold. Initially they didn’t have any of the three-main COVID-19 symptoms. They were sneezing a lot – I never once thought it could be COVID-19, because we were all so careful.
“They gradually got worse. First it was my mum, she developed other symptoms including vomiting. She had to be taken to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and tested positive for COVID-19.
“My dad was in a terrible state. I just remember going upstairs to visit him and he was purple in the face. He was struggling with his breathing and he was sent pretty much straight to the ICU at the Princess Royal.
“My mum was a real fighter, and she showed signs that her conditions were improving. That gave us all hope, but shortly after she started to deteriorate again.
“I received a phone call from the hospital saying my mum had taken a turn for the worst and she might not make past the next couple of hours. It’s the phone call you never want to hear as a daughter. She said she loved us before she passed away.”
Katie said she was allowed into hospital to be with her mother during the last hours of her life. Grieving and in the process of organising her mum’s funeral, Katie was given further devastating news about her dad.
“We were able see him via video call before he passed. I played him his favourite family video. He couldn’t speak and it broke my heart – but I like to think that video brought him some comfort in those last few moments before he passed.
“I am heartbroken because he died without his family and loved ones around him.”
Following the devastating loss of both her parents due to COVID-19, Katie is urging everyone across Shropshire to keep safe.
“I have lost two people I loved dearly due to COVID-19. COVID-19 killed them.
“I have my own health issues and I relied heavily on my mum and dad. They always kept an eye me when my husband was at work, but now they’re gone.
“My mum was such a compassionate and charitable person. She always set a good example and that’s something I still aspire to. She would always be knitting stuff for charity
“I miss my Dad’s humour. It’s not just the lack of the physical presence, it’s being not able to pick up the phone and have a chat with them. If I was feeling low, I would always call them. Now I can’t see them unless I go to the cemetery.
“Please take this seriously. I’ve lost my mum and dad, but this could happen to anyone. Please be extra careful – it can strike at anytime and turn your life upside down.”
Families and individuals who have lost loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic are being offered free bereavement counselling.
Run by Shropshire Council with support from Samaritans, Severn Hospice, Cruse Bereavement Care and Crane Quality Counselling, the Bereavement Support Service offers one to one personalised counselling for people across the county.
You can access the bereavement service by calling the Shropshire Council COVID-19 Helpline number on 0345 678 9028.
For local advice and support during the pandemic (especially if you are self-isolating or shielding), call Shropshire Council’s COVID-19 Helpline on 0345 678 9028 (lines open on the weekend on Saturday from 9am-4pm and Sunday 9am-12pm) or visit our website at www.shropshire.gov.uk/coronavirus.
Sign up for Shropshire’s latest coronavirus Updates here