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Mum writes of Kate Gross's Christmas Day death

By Michelle Smyth

The mother of a young woman and former aide of Tony Blair has written a moving account of her daughter's death on Christmas morning.

Kate Gross (36) died at home after battling colon cancer, holding her Belfast-born husband Billy Boyle's hand.

Writing in The Guardian, Kate's mother Jean Gross described how, along with Billy, they still opened presents and had a turkey dinner for the sake of the couple's five year-old twin boys Isaac and Oscar.

Jean described Christmas Day as the "blackest of black comedy", going through the usual motions such as putting the turkey in the oven, while letting the doctor in to confirm Kate's death and phoning the undertakers.

She wrote about how Billy had wrapped Kate's presents on Christmas Eve to "declare her still and always present".

She added that Kate's book - Late Fragments, now number three in Amazon's best sellers list - was "written so that her sons may one day discover who she was and what she held dear".

Kate and Billy met when they were both 24.

Before she passed away, Kate wrote in her blog about how her cancer journey had strengthened her relationship with her husband.

"Billy and I have grown a love known only in power ballads, a depth of understanding and companionship which in any fair world would last us both a lifetime.

"He is my talisman against the smells, the sounds, the vomit and the endless potential for bad news to arrive without warning," she wrote.

Belfast Telegraph


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