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'Mum had a hard life but she always put on a wee smile for you'... daughter's touching tribute to coronavirus victim

Linda (64) is seventh person to die in Northern Ireland

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Carol Palmer with her mother Linda Wilson

Carol Palmer with her mother Linda Wilson

Carol Palmer with her mother Linda Wilson

The heartbroken daughter of Northern Ireland's seventh Covid-19 victim has told how her mother died not knowing that her beloved brother had also passed away.

Carol Palmer's mum Linda Wilson (64), who was originally from Greenisland, succumbed to the virus on Wednesday after being admitted to hospital on Mothering Sunday.

But while she was fighting for her life in Belfast's Mater Hospital, her children opted not to tell her that their uncle Graham Campbell, who was in his 60s, had suffered a lethal heart attack at work on Sunday. He was buried at Roselawn Cemetery on Friday.

Mrs Palmer, who is trying to come to terms with her loss, also said she cannot believe she will have to attend her mother's funeral in protective clothing, although she accepts it is necessary.

"My granny Leona Hughes, who's 84, has lost three people in four days," said Carol.

"She lost her son on Monday, her brother-in-law on Tuesday and then her daughter, my mum, on Wednesday. She's devastated. It's a lot to take in."

Mrs Palmer (45) said her mother, who lived at Wheatfield nursing home in Belfast, had suffered ill health "practically from I was a baby".

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Carol and her mum with Carol’s grandmother Leona Hughes, her daughter Stacey Palmer, sister Gail Peters, and two grandchildren

Carol and her mum with Carol’s grandmother Leona Hughes, her daughter Stacey Palmer, sister Gail Peters, and two grandchildren

Carol and her mum with Carol’s grandmother Leona Hughes, her daughter Stacey Palmer, sister Gail Peters, and two grandchildren

"Mum had complex mental health issues and was unable to look after herself," said Carol, who has three children and two grandchildren.

"She had been in and out of care homes her entire life. I was taken into care when I was four. My brothers and sisters were also taken off her when they were very young, but we stayed in touch."

Mrs Palmer said her siblings Gail Peters (48), Jacqueline Wilson (47) and brothers Robert Wilson (44) and Brendan Wilson (41) are also shattered by their mum's death, although she added that "the hospital warned us the night before that her organs were shutting down".

Homemaker Carol, who has a daughter Stacey (29) and two sons, Lucas-Ryan (20) and Pierce (16), with husband Glen (48), said Mrs Wilson had been in the Mater Hospital with pneumonia a few weeks ago before being discharged and returning to Wheatfield.

She was readmitted on Sunday and she tested positive for Covid-19 later that day.

"Once she got diagnosed with coronavirus we couldn't tell her that her brother had died that day," Carol said.

"We were going to wait until she got out of hospital before telling her because they were very, very close ... but then, in the end, we never got the chance."

Referring to the last time she saw her mother in person, Carol, who lives in Rathcoole, said they had a lovely tea at her sister Gail's house at the end of January. She also voiced her concerns that people in Northern Ireland were not taking the coronavirus pandemic seriously enough.

"Everyone needs to take more precautions, stay at home and stay safe and protect your family," she said. "The disease has really hit home hard for us. I hope other people don't have to lose somebody very close to them before they understand how serious this is."

Carol said she will always remember her mum as "a lovely woman who loved ice cream".

"Mummy had it hard all her life but she always put on a wee smile for you," she added.

"She was a beautiful lady inside and out."

Mrs Palmer said people had been very kind to her family in the aftermath of her mother's death, especially Monkstown Boxing Club who sent them a food hamper.

Carol, who revealed that her mum was waiting on a heart operation, said it was "heartbreaking" that she could not go to the hospital "to spend her last moments with her".

"Mum's coffin is currently in a funeral home in north Belfast," she said.

"We're allowed to go into the room but we will all have to wear protective gear. Only two of us are allowed in at a time and we can only stay for 10 minutes.

"All I'm going to get to see is a coffin but at least, in a way, I'll get to say goodbye before the funeral on Tuesday."

Carol added: "We used to call mum the lady with nine lives because she was in and out of hospital loads for different things but unfortunately this was her last one."

Belfast Telegraph