A wife has described her heartache at finally being granted her wish of seeing her husband again, but realising it was just too late.
Susan Lindsay’s husband Alex was at a care home due to Parkinson’s Disease which meant, due to the coronavirus pandemic, visits were heavily restricted.
Alex, 78, was a former journalist for the Sunday Express whose national newspaper career spanned 40 years, during which time he interviewed the Queen and Princess Ann, and dined at the palace.
Wife Susan, 72, was finally allowed into the Beaufort nursing home in Burscough, West Lancashire after an ambulance was called for her husband, the Liverpool Echo reports.
Dressed in full PPE, the mum-of-two was belatedly able to hold his hand, but sadly Alex had already died.
She said: “Before December 5, when Alex died, I was not allowed inside to see him.
“I got a phone call on the Saturday night saying they’d called an ambulance for him.
“I arrived and this time was allowed inside, in protective equipment, and I held his hand.
“But he’d gone.
“In the week leading up to Alex’s death, I’d been told to go to the backdoor, and was hammering on the glass to try and get his attention.
“He did know I was there, the employee with him said, ‘wave to Sue,’ and he put his hand up a bit.
“In the last few weeks of his life he’d lost a lot of weight.
“I’d been told by the care home that the doctors didn’t have the authority to allow me in the house.
“They finally had put in place plans to build a visiting pod, like so many others homes across the country had done, but their intention was to start doing so in December.
“The whole situation has been heartbreaking, after 10 months hanging around on a cold doorstep or over a fence and not being able to have a conversation with my husband, private or otherwise.
“I had no chance of seeing him laid out in his coffin and had to see him in the presence of police or paramedics.
“I’ve had no peace with him at all. It just seems wrong. I just wanted to hold Alex and we were denied that.
“A bit of comfort and touch.
“It’s been the most cruel thing.”
The Beaufort was approached for comment, but they declined to respond.
In a letter sent to Mrs Lindsay’s son, a manager told him, the day before Alex died: “We are currently building an indoor pod that families can visit.
“However I must point out that only two visitors will be allowed into the pod and this has to be the same consistent visitors.
“Once the pod is ready we will of course update you accordingly.
“This will be arranged by making an appointment in the home and visits will be for 20 minutes at a time, as you can appreciate all families will want to book into visit .
“We also have to deep clean the pod after each visit as per infection prevention guidelines. We will also be not facilitating visits during mealtimes.”
At one stage, Susan was permitted to stand in the care home porch, nine feet apart, while her husband was wheeled into the hallway.
That later changed to meetings over a fence, in the car park as her husband was brought into the home’s garden.
Close friend Andy Chapman said: “Alex was a one-off, a brilliant journalist, raconteur and man of culture.
“He was a rare breed of character, whom I have never known anyone have a bad word to say against.
“He is survived by his wife Sue and his two stepsons John and Chris, his daughter Allison from a previous marriage, and six granddaughters.”
Mr Lindsay’s funeral took place on Friday at Southport crematorium.