“Christmas morning hadn’t started brilliantly. My eldest daughter, Phoebe, had woken up with chicken pox! “Wait till we tell nanny” I said, not knowing that my mum was fighting for her life.
Mum never got to see Phoebe’s spots, she died at 11.33am 25th December 2010 aged 64. I arrived at the hospital just as my dad and brother were coming down the corridor, my dad shaking his head and my brother, John, drip white.
Disbelief was my initial reaction. I’d seen mum 24 hrs earlier and although she was ill, (poorlier than I’d ever seen her) it never crossed my mind that she might be dying. We all thought that mum had the ‘flu: her GP had thought the same; and she had also been diagnosed with pleurisy on Christmas Eve, but it wasn’t. It was Sepsis caused by a UTI.
We sat there in the hospital family room, all 13 of us, nobody understanding what was going on. Mum couldn’t have gone, she was so strong ( “strong as a man” as my eldest, Tom, said), full of life and energy- they must have got it wrong. The Dr thought it was meningitis, but all I kept thinking was he d made a mistake ,someone will come in and tell me my mum is sat up in bed having a cup of tea and wants to see us.
She’d said to dad in the ambulance “Oh no, I’m going to miss Chloe’s birthday and the panto”. She hadn’t meant miss it totally, she thought she’d be recovering in hospital.
Chloe is my youngest, her birthday is the 27th December. Mum had to have a PM as her death was so sudden, which for me is totally devastating.
All our lives changed that day. For me, I’d lost my mum and my best friend, my husband had lost a surrogate mum! My children’s loss was the most wonderful and devoted Nanny in the world. All in the space of six days.
I’d never heard of sepsis before and I only wish I knew a year ago what I know now, perhaps then my mum, Hilary Lovell, would still be here.”