Grieving son holds funeral for virus victim mother in Scotland

Montrose (United Kingdom) (AFP) –


Jamie Livingston, a 25-year-old security officer in eastern Scotland, ended two weeks of self-isolation on Monday to hold a funeral for his mother who died last month from suspected coronavirus.

Janet Livingston lived together with her son in the small coastal village of Ferryden before she passed away on April 20.

The 60-year-old care worker first fell ill after finishing a shift at a senior citizens' home where three people had been infected with COVID-19.

She developed a fever, describing herself as feeling "yucky", but initially did not register as having the virus.

"When we went to the hospital for a test, she was fine, all of her stats were normal," Jamie Livingston told AFP.

"Both of us tested negative for the virus."

Days later, his mother was well enough to sit up in bed.

"We phoned a chippy (fish and chip restaurant) and got it delivered to the front door. I heard mom downstairs laughing at a comedy she was watching on television."

However, the next morning his mother took a sudden turn for the worse and was too weak to get out of bed. When she began gasping for air, Jamie Livingstone called an ambulance.

As she lay on a stretcher, waiting to be lifted into the ambulance with her temperature at 39 degrees Celsius (102 degrees Fahrenheit), his mother looked at him and said she did not think she was going to see him again.

"We always tried to make each other laugh where possible, so I said, 'it's going to take more than a bit of illness for you to get rid of me'," he recounted.

- At bedside -

Two days after being admitted to hospital Janet Livingston died, with doctors telling her family it was most likely as a result of the virus.

Her son, who described his mother as his confidant and best friend, was at her bedside as she passed away.

Dressed in a gown, face mask and gloves, he had spent the prior five hours reminiscing with her about the past and the good times they had shared.

As she started to drift into a sleep, she opened her eyes and spoke her last words.

"She said I will love you forever son," he said.

After her death, Jamie Livingston isolated himself for two weeks with only his mother's dog for company.

Family, friends and neighbours made frequent phone calls and on his birthday last week, two friends spent a half an hour talking to him through the front door.

"Mum always said hope is more contagious than fear," he said.

"She would have said don't be scared about being alone for 14 days.

"Rather think of all the things you are going to do when you get out after 14 days."