Barney and Sarah ‘Blossom’ McGlinchey from Greysteel died on Wednesday, January 20, from COVID-19 after spending almost two weeks in Altnagelvin Hospital.
They were in separate wards, but staff brought them together to be with each other in their final moments.
Only one of their daughters was with them due to Coronavirus restrictions.
Barney, passed away first at 4:55 pm, while HIS devoted wife Sarah, known affectionately to family and firends as Blossom, passed away shortly after at 5.01 pm.
The couple were holding hands when they took their last breaths.
Barney, 81, and 78-year-old Blossom, who had five children and seven grandchildren, were absolutely devoted to each other, their daughter Lynne Gray said.
Speaking to BBC News NI, Mrs Gray praised the outstanding care provided to her parents by hospital staff during their family’s “most difficult time”.
“As much as we respected the restrictions and the reason they are in place to protect the wider community, it was really, really hard to think that your parents are alone in a sealed off room,” she said.
“That they are with strangers and that you can’t be with them in their final hours.”
Mrs Gray said the family had mostly been corresponding with the couple through letters while they were in hospital.
“When they were fit enough they would read their own letters, but when they weren’t the nurses would read them for them.“We knew they weren’t returning, but we wanted to keep their hope.”
She said the family received a phone call on 20 January to say her parents’ condition had drastically deteriorated and “were soon to be on their final journey”.
The consultant on her father’s ward said they would like to bring her father from his ward to be with his wife.
“We know that they (hospital staff) wanted us as a family to be with our parents, but the restrictions prevented that for the betterment for the wider community,” she said.
“As difficult as it was for us, we know it was equally as difficult for the nursing and caring staff at Altnagelvin Hospital.”
Mrs Gray said the family’s biggest fear was for them to die alone in hospital and said knowing they spent their last moments together in the company of her older sister Libby was of huge comfort.
She urged people to take the virus more seriously and to follow public health guidance.
“Listen to the professionals, trust the experts that we need to guide us through this pandemic.”
Mrs Gray added her lasting memory of her mum and dad would be their love for one another, their love of family and their faith.
Mr and Mrs McGlinchey, from Foyle Avenue, had five children and seven grandchildren.
A spokesman for the local St Mary’s Faughanvale GAA club said at the time of their deaths that Mr and Mrs McGlinchey were well known in the area.
The spokesman said: “The couple were highly regarded in our community.
“Barney was a loyal supporter of not only our teams but also our club initiatives, including the ‘Winter Walks’ at John McLaughlin Park.”
Requiem Mass under Coronavirus restrictions was held for Mr and Mrs McGlinchey at St Mary’s Star of the Sea Church, Faughanvale.Tags: