‘I was in labour all alone’: How the public played by the rules while political elite partied at Downing Street

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I was one of only eight people at my dad’s funeral 

Kerry Ashby, 55, business coach from Cambridgeshire

My dad Albert moved into a care home in February 2020, which was obviously very unfortunate timing. When the pandemic got going in March, we were banned from visiting him, and all we saw of him was when we went to stand outside his window and look at him.

He had dementia and didn’t understand why we couldn’t go inside. The window had to stay shut, which made conversation impossible. We were devastated when he died at the end of April, and because of the restrictions we had never had a chance to say goodbye. 

A few days later we went to pick up his belongings, which were put in a box that was left on the pavement outside the care home. We couldn’t even go into the funeral home to see his body because of the rules.

His funeral on May 20 was extremely difficult. There were only eight of us: my mum, my husband, our three children and two of their partners. My sister lives in a different part of the country and because travel was so difficult, she couldn’t even attend her own father’s funeral.

The service was very minimal, too. We were from several households so we had to sit apart from each other in the crematorium. No singing was allowed, either, and it was over in about 20 minutes. Afterwards we had to go straight back to our own homes, with no wake or chance to reminisce about dad.

Because of the restrictions, it feels like from when he went into the care home in February, that was that and we never saw him again. No one in our family has been able to have closure about his death and properly grieve.

Watching the news about the party has made me extremely angry. Up till now, I’ve tried not to get angry about what happened, but I can’t stop it now. They were drinking wine, and I wasn’t allowed to comfort my daughters at their granddad’s funeral. It’s just wrong.

I passed out from pain in hospital with no one allowed in to help

Abbie MacGregor, 26, PhD candidate from Kent

Earlier in May, I had given birth to my son Atticus. It had been a difficult birth, and I had had to have an emergency caesarean and stay in hospital for five days afterwards, while my husband went home. Because he had been born prematurely, Atticus had to stay in the neonatal intensive care unit, so I was left alone in the maternity ward, without my husband or baby. It felt like I was being punished.

Because I was without my husband, I wasn’t resting as much as I should have been after the caesarean, and I was still having to do many tasks by myself which put massive amounts of pressure on the wound. 

I was in huge amounts of pain, but because I had to get up to pump milk to give to the neonatal unit, I couldn’t be put on strong painkillers because it would have made me too drowsy. For much of the time, I was trying to recover from a caesarean using mostly paracetamol.

On May 20, I went to the hospital to have the stitches removed: once again, on my own and without the support of my husband. Things did not go to plan, and because I had been more active than I should have been, the wound had not healed as it should have. When the nurse tried to take the stitches out, it was such a stress to my body and so painful that I simply passed out.

I can’t believe that while I was going through that, the Government were enjoying themselves. If it was safe enough to get 100 people together for a party, it would have been safe enough to have my husband there.

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