One woman's heartbreaking story of losing her father during the pandemic

Claire Welch lost her father, Roy, to Covid-19 on Easter Sunday this year.

He died in the care home where he had been living for the past five years, separated from his wife of 60 years.

That separation was only made worse by the cruel nature of the pandemic. Claire's mother, who is terminally ill, had to shield at home and could not say her goodbye's to Roy.

Even Claire was told not to touch her father when she went to visit him on the day he passed away.

She described her dad as "clever, he was funny, he had a really dry sense of humour, he was an astute businessman".

While Claire says she will always feel the pain of loss, the ordeal has been hardest on her mother.

Roy was diagnosed with semantic dementia in 2015 and had to move into a care home. Credit: Family photo

Both of Claire's parents moved to Wales to be closer to their family who could provide them with the support they needed.

In 2015, just six months after the move to Wales, Roy was diagnosed with semantic dementia and had to be moved into a care home.

When lockdown happened, Claire's mum self-isolated because she is terminally ill.

The last time she got to see her husband of almost 61 years, was in March.

Roy and his wife were married on Boxing Day in 1959. Credit: Family photo

Claire remembers how the care home Roy was in called her on the Saturday before Easter to tell her that he had coronavirus. It was not even 24 hours later that Roy passed away.

However Claire did get to see him before he died. On that same morning, Claire went to visit him. She had to wear full PPE and was told not to touch him.

"Surprisingly he was able to get up the morning he died, he dressed himself," said Claire.

"When I went to see him, he must've known what was happening, I was in full PPE."

They did ask me not to touch him, but how could I not, it was my last wearing gloves, I did hold his hand.

Claire Welch, Roy's daughter
Claire said she was told not to touch her father on the day he died but she couldn't not hold his hand for the last time. Credit: family photo

The funeral was an "unusual" experience for Claire. Coronavirus restrictions mean only a small amount of people are allowed to attend.

Her mother was also still shielding so could not be at the actual service. Claire said the funeral director did drive the hearse passed her mother's house so she could at least come outside to say her goodbyes.

I think one of the hardest things I've ever done was leaving her there weeping in the road as we all drove off to the crematorium..

Claire Welch, Roy's daughter
Only four people attended Roy's funeral.

Claire said the entire experience has been "surreal" but it is her mother who is the one who has "really been through it".

"She hasn't been able to see him, to hug him, to say goodbye."

There have now been more than 3,000 coronavirus related deaths in Wales according to the Office of National Statistics.