Coronavirus: RAF veteran unable to attend wife’s funeral

David and IleanaImage copyright Family photo
Image caption David were “side by side” at Derriford Hospital before he was discharged and she died from Covid-19

A man who held his own service at home when he was unable to attend his wife’s funeral after she died of coronavirus has thanked family and friends for supporting him.

David, 85, from Devon, and his wife of 62 years, Ileana, were both taken to Derriford Hospital at the end of March.

David was discharged soon after but Ileana tested positive for Covid-19 and died 10 days later.

“That was the last time I saw her”, David, an RAF veteran, said.

While in hospital, the couple had beds in the ward next to each other.

‘Inherent kindness’

“I’m trying to be as strong as I can in memory of my wife, my rock,” he said.

“We were married 62 years and I thought we would go on together but it’s taken this thing to part us.”

David met Ileana in Malta in 1956 and the pair were married two years later.

“I know it sounds silly but because I couldn’t go [to the funeral], I had my wife’s picture and said a little service on my own,” he said.

David, who used to work for British Aerospace in Bristol before moving to Devon in the 1980s, said he was extremely grateful to his friends for the support they had shown since his wife died.

He said he was touched by one friend in particular, who on 22 April – the day his wife would have turned 85 – sent him a rose in her memory to plant.

“I don’t think it’s this emergency that has brought it [kindness] out,” he said.

“I think this inherent kindness is there all the time, maybe this exacerbates it, I don’t know.

“But certainly I’ve been really touched by their generosity and kindness.”

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