Daughter shares final picture with mum after Covid-19 'tore through family'

Anabel Sharma is sharing this picture in the hope people will do what they can to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Credit: Anabel Sharma

A mum-of-three has shared the harrowing final picture of her holding hands with her mum just a day before she died in hospital with Covid-19.

Anabel Sharma, 49, spent seven weeks in hospital - five of which were in the intensive care unit – after she was rushed to hospital along with her mum Maria, 76.

Covid-19 “tore through” her family, with their son first spreading it to her husband, who spent two weeks recovering in bed.

After a fortnight in intensive care in the same hospital as Anabel, Maria, who had signed a Do Not Resuscitate order, held hands with her daughter for the last time and declared her funeral wishes.

“All I heard was ‘funeral’, she said ‘cremation’ and I said to the doctors I can’t hear what she’s saying,” she said.

“She was telling me not to be scared and that I had to keep fighting for the children but that she had had enough.

“The doctors told me she had signed a Do Not Resuscitate order and she said that she was ready to go.”

Asking the doctors what this meant, they told her: “Anabel, your mum’s dying.”

With her mother given just a day or two to live, Anabel asked for a final photograph, knowing this was going to be the last one they had together.

She died the next day.

Her decision initially “infuriated” Anabel, but after doctors told her she wasn’t responding to treatment and that an induced coma would give her a slim chance of survival, she said she could understand.

Anabel said she had never thought Covid-19 would hit her and her family in the way it did.

Anabel Sharma with her family. Credit: Anabel Sharma

A keen kickboxer, Anabel used to practice six or seven hours a week but said now she “can’t even make the bed without oxygen” and still gets breathless.

The family had been careful not go against any of the restrictions in place, Anabel said, with Maria staying in her bedroom after the virus found its way into their house.

But as Anabel became the main carer while her husband recovered, she started to lose consciousness and wake up on the floor.

When she called 999, an ambulance came initially just for Anabel but the paramedic confirmed Maria was also “very poorly”.

They were taken to hospital with both ambulances driving at 90mph.

Anabel with her mum, Maria. Credit: Anabel Sharma

“You always think there is a tomorrow but you don’t really question the fragility of life,” Anabel said, asked what her message would be to people flouting Covid restrictions.

“I had no idea how ill I was until paramedics arrived and did my measurements,” she said, adding her temperature was at 41.5C and her oxygen at 76% when the ambulance arrived.

“Vivacious” Maria is sorely missed by the family, Anabel said, who spent part of their lockdown making cocktails together to satisfy her taste for a martini.

Anabel said: “My youngest son… I’ll find him sitting in her room holding one of her pillows because he really misses her.”

She was “everything you’d want a grandma to be.”