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Belfast family's car park vigil after woman dies from Covid-19 in nursing home

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Passed away: Teresa Brady

Passed away: Teresa Brady

Passed away: Teresa Brady

The grieving granddaughter of a west Belfast woman who died in a Dunmurry nursing home of Covid-19 at the weekend has spoken of how her family kept a vigil in the car park as her grandmother passed away.

Teresa Brady, who had her 94th birthday last Wednesday, had been in the Kilwee Care Home in Dunmurry for the past three years.

Her granddaughter Carla Hughes spoke to the Belfast Telegraph last night about how the virus claimed the life of the granny she loved.

"Granny took ill on the 31st of March," Carla said.

"She was taken to the Mater - but the hospital did not test her.

"They sent her straight back to the home.

"At that time, they were not testing people unless their symptoms were severe.

"She was isolated when she went back to the home, but it was very difficult for us not knowing if she had Covid-19 or not.

"After a wee while she rallied a bit, but on the 16th we were told that she had very rapidly gone downhill."

The care home summoned an ambulance for Mrs Brady, but, said Carla, the paramedics felt she would be better looked after by staying where she was.

"The paramedics were just amazing," Carla said last night.

"They recommended that she should stay at the care home because they thought she would get better care there."

But things took a turn for the worse on Saturday as Mrs Brady's condition deteriorated.

"We got a message to say she had tested positive for coronavirus, and that she probably wasn't going to last much longer."

Mrs Brady's life had centred around her family, Carla said.

"She had five daughters, 19 grandchildren and lots of great grandchildren, she was always surrounded by family her whole life. That's why we found comfort in being the closest we could be to her - even though that was out in the care home car park."

All the family members stayed in their separate cars, socially distancing from each other during their vigil for their cherished relative.

"Sometimes there was just one or two of us, but last night there must have been around 15 to 20 of us in the car park for her.

"She deserved to have her family as close to her as they could be."

Paying tribute to the care home staff who had looked after her grandmother, Carla said: "We can't speak highly enough of them. They cared for granny when we couldn't.

"They came out and gave us wee updates on how granny was doing.

"We said to them at one point, 'Can you open the window whenever she passes away so that her soul can get out'.

"They were so loving, so dedicated - we will never be able to repay them.

"And while we were sitting in the car park, we saw the window being opened. That's how we knew she was gone."

It had been a tough few weeks, Carla added.

"But being in the car park was the closest we could get to granny."

Belfast Telegraph