Compassion, Summer 2020

Summer 2020 - Compassion | 10 Giving me time to process everything Working as a full-time teaching assistant in a primary school, I can honestly say that when news of schools closing came due to the pandemic, I was relieved. Not only for the safety of everybody in school, but also for my own sanity. On May 18th 2019, I received the devastating news from a police visit, that my beautiful eighteen year old daughter, Rhiannon, had accidentally overdosed on a mixture of cocaine and morphine after a night drinking vodka with her boyfriend. It was a very surreal time looking back, like something you see on the TV but never expect to actually happen. My husband Paul (Rhiannon’s step-father) and I were escorted by the police to the hospital, where Rhiannon was born, to formally identify her. It is an image that will live with me forever. We were told that, because of her age and suspicion of drug use, there would be an inquest. Two days after Rhiannon died, Paul encouraged me to start planning for her funeral. Strangely, it gave me focus. After the funeral director left, we walked over to our local pub to enquire about the wake. It was then that I received a phone-call from my mother informing me that my elderly father had been rushed to hospital with breathing difficulties. I accompanied her to the hospital where we were told that he had pneumonia and sepsis. He was moved onto the palliative care ward to receive end of life care. As a (broken) family, we kept a vigil at his bedside until he slipped peacefully away exactly one week after his granddaughter. In one week, I had lost my darling daughter and my fabulous Dad. Looking back, I can’t believe how we all got through those early days, weeks and months. I returned to work in September and had the full support from my fabulous work friends. The routine of work was a good distraction and made me feel useful again. Though some days, I was sobbing before I got into my car at the end of the school day. Grief in Isolation