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Family members mourning the death of their loved ones from Covid-19 have warned families not to gather for Christmas, even if the government allows it.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock suggested on Friday that families could spend “that dear Christmas with their family as much as possible,” but added that social distancing between households would still be necessary.
But Kathryn de Prudhoe, a Leeds psychotherapist, lost her father Tony Clay to Covid in April and believes it is not worth taking the risk of mixing external support bubbles.
Clay was 60 years old and had only slightly raised his blood pressure before contracting the coronavirus, but he died in intensive care after three days in the hospital, having suffered a brain hemorrhage and a heart attack as a result of the virus.
Kathryn de Prudhoe (left), her family’s psychotherapist, lost her father Tony Clay (back right) to Covid in April. She has warned against meeting for Christmas +6
Kathryn de Prudhoe (left), her family’s psychotherapist, lost her father Tony Clay (back right) to Covid in April. She has warned against meetings for Christmas
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Ms. De Prudhoe shared a moving photo of the last time she saw her father before the confinement. It shows her laughing and playing with her son, 23 days before she died.
“She was a really fit, physically active man … it was a really devastating shock,” Ms. De Prudhoe said.
“We have no idea what the virus could do to someone. I understand that people want to get together, it has been an incredibly difficult year … but at what cost?
She added: ‘I, for one, would give up Christmas with my parents if it meant that we as a family still have a future.’
Ms. De Prudhoe is spending Christmas with her partner and their two children, ages six and nine, and her mother, who now lives alone, so she is in a bubble of support with her.
Tony Clay with his grandson 23 days before he died, the 60 year old died as a result of Covid-19 in April
Heather Roberts, of Eastcote, London, lost her mother Violet Partington, 78, in April to Covid and described those who wanted to “have fun” at Christmas as “selfish.”
Speaking on her mother’s birthday, the 54-year-old said: ‘We were never able to say goodbye. We don’t have it here, none of us want to celebrate.
I just want to leave, but I can’t. I feel so trapped and I feel so hurt by all the selfish people who want to have fun.
“Everyone has to make their choice, but I feel that many have not lost anyone, so I do not know the anguish they leave behind.
‘My sister is in therapy and you are reminded of it on the news every day.
Heather Roberts’ mother, Violet Partington, who died as a result of Covid-19 in April. Ms. Roberts warned families not to gather for Christmas +6
Heather Roberts’ mother, Violet Partington, who died as a result of Covid-19 in April. Mrs. Roberts warned families not to gather for Christmas
“Think very carefully about what you are doing … I just wouldn’t risk it for dinner.”
Mrs. Roberts suggested that families could delay their family reunions until Easter.
Haci Ali Dogus, 49, taxi driver from Hackney in London, died of coronavirus on March +6
Haci Ali Dogus, 49, a taxi driver from Hackney in London, died of coronavirus in March
Haci Ali Dogus, 49, a taxi driver from Hackney in London, died
Haci Ali Dogus, 49, a taxi driver from Hackney in London, died of coronavirus in March despite having no underlying health problems.
His student son Mert Dogus cautioned that families should change their Christmas gatherings online.
The 18-year-old said: ‘It’s definitely not going to be easy, especially for students who live on the college campus and people who live alone.
But at the end of the day, it’s not worth taking that risk … we should just stay home and meet up for a video call. It won’t be the same but at least we can take advantage of what we have. ‘
London charity worker Andy Stevens said his family also planned to celebrate Christmas separately this year, following the death of his nephew Jamie in March at age 24.
Stevens, 39, said Jamie was healthy and a keen cyclist, but a previously unknown heart condition exacerbated his condition.
“In many ways, it would help to be together to collectively mourn and remember Jamie at Christmas, especially since we couldn’t be together for his funeral, but we think it’s not worth the risk,” he said.
‘I would suggest that people follow the guide and go beyond that depending on their particular level of risk.
Ms De Prudhoe is also an activist for Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK, a group of more than 2,000 grieving families calling for an investigation into the government’s handling of the pandemic.
The activists are calling for £ 65 million in funding to provide mental health support to the hundreds of thousands of people grieving the loss of a loved one as a result of the coronavirus crisis.