On his birthday, which was 7th April 2020, I gave my husband Desmond his presents and he really liked them very much. He thanked me very much. He gave me a kiss and I gave him a kiss.
We had a meal together at our flat (we couldn’t go out because of lockdown) and a little drink to celebrate his birthday. He was feeling a bit sad and upset as we couldn’t go out to the Robin Hood to celebrate his birthday as usual because they were closed because of the virus. I told him when all this lock down and coronavirus has gone I will take him to the Robin Hood pub to celebrate his birthday. And to give him a good time, to cheer him up and make him happy again.
I told him not to worry because I would do it and we had to still make the most of his birthday at home.
Now this memory makes me feel sad and upset because I didn’t know it was going to be his last birthday. But we did have a lovely birthday and we had a wonderful time together. We had Cottage Pie and he had soup too – he loved his soup. After that we just spent the evening together. And I said to him, ‘Did you enjoy your birthday’? He said ‘Yes,’ and I enjoyed his birthday with him too.
I went to bed and he came to bed a bit later as he wanted to stay up. We then slept, and in the middle of the night I heard him shout out. I said, "What is the matter?" and he wouldn’t tell me because he didn’t want to worry me.
When we woke up on Wednesday morning he was still in pain and I said ‘What’s the matter?’ He said he had a pain in his chest, so I called an ambulance and said to them he had a pain in his chest and that he was really in agony. The ambulance came and asked me to put a mask on and to put a mask on Desmond and then they did lots of tests. They said he was very hot so he had to go to hospital. We were very upset as we had a good day the previous day and didn’t want to be apart.
He wanted me to go with him but I couldn’t travel in the ambulance or visit him in hospital because of the virus. He went into the hospital and was given antibiotics to bring his temperature down. Our carer came to see me and I got a phone call at 11 to say that Des is very ill and do they have my permission not to resuscitate him. So I felt I had to say yes.
On Thursday afternoon I got a phone call for Desmond to come home. He came home on the Thursday – but he wasn’t well. I made his meal. Then we went to bed and slept right through. He woke up in the morning and said he felt not too bad.
On the Friday I made his breakfast. In the afternoon I went to do the washing up and I heard a big bang and he had fallen but couldn’t get up. The ambulance came and they said he was very hot. Again I couldn’t go with him because of the virus. He started to cry and of course I started to cry. He really didn’t want to go. I said as soon as you are better we will do things together again – I will see you when you come out of hospital.
I went to bed Friday night and the phone kept ringing. On the Saturday morning the hospital phoned and the nurse said ‘I’m very, very sorry to tell you that your husband passed away about 5.45 in the morning’.
It was just four days after his birthday. I was really upset. I was shaking. I was crying. Then I got a second phone call from one of the other nurses. I said to them ‘Did he talk about me before he passed away?’ and they said ‘Yes, he talked about his birthday and he talked about you, his wife’.
Sadly I never got a chance to take him out for his birthday or to celebrate together.
Because of the lockdown I never even got chance to say good bye to him.
This is for other people – if you, your husband, or your wife ever go to hospital and they pass away like Desmond did and you couldn’t go to hospital to say goodbye then you would feel the same as me. Just think about when you said goodbye – think of the good memories, put photos up on the walls and speak to them. I speak to Desmond in the mornings and in the evenings – I say good morning and I say good night to him and I tell him what I do in the day.
Dictated by Theresa 8.11.20