WHEN Annemarie Hunt returns house from a gruelling 12-hour shift as a senior carer, she’s confronted by an empty, silent house.
Upstairs, her unworn marriage ceremony costume hangs within the closet – alongside it sits a hospital bag of her late fiancé Neil Shaw’s belongings. She will be able to’t carry herself to open it.
Annemarie Hunt, 50, from Manchester, misplaced her fiance Neil Shaw to Covid-19 in AprilCredit score: Provided
Annemarie, 50, from Manchester, who misplaced her beloved Neil to Covid-19 seven months in the past says the isolation and loneliness she now feels is all-consuming.
Talking for The Sun’s Christmas Together campaign, Annemarie bravely recollects: “When Neil went into hospital on March 31, I believed ‘he’ll be again quickly’.
“I didn’t suppose he was going to die, even after I was referred to as into hospital on April 21 as a result of they needed to take him off his oxygen.”
Annemarie was by 58-year-old photographer Neil’s aspect in full PPE when he handed away in Salford Royal Hospital on April 22.
Neil got here down with a cough in March and was useless a month laterCredit score: Provided
She says: “One of many final issues he mentioned to me, on the Saturday earlier than he handed away, was, ‘I simply wish to maintain your hand and go to the seaside’.
“I mentioned, ‘we are going to and also you’re going to take hundreds of images’. He had a giant smile on his face, however he didn’t touch upon that. Wanting again now, I believe he knew he was going to go away.
“Neil and I have been inseparable, I used to be with him 24/7. Now I’m lonely on a regular basis and it’s the worst factor possible.”
I really feel lonely on a regular basis. I really feel like part of me’s gone, as a result of I used to be at all times with Neil. Evening time is the worst. I don’t sleep very effectively as a result of I miss him a lot
Neil started struggling with a cough and was admitted to hospital with Covid-19 per week later, on March 31.
He had suffered a stroke in 2016 however had recovered effectively and was in any other case wholesome.
Annemarie, who by no means caught the virus, referred to as an ambulance when Neil began complaining of an excruciating headache – which she didn’t realise could possibly be a symptom of low oxygen ranges.
She says: “He wasn’t breathless or struggling to talk, he was laughing and joking with the ambulance crew, that’s what’s so unbelievable about all this.
“However they put him straight on oxygen and he by no means got here off that till he died. An ultrasound simply earlier than he handed confirmed his lungs have been badly scarred.
“Ultimately we have been instructed they needed to take him off the oxygen to forestall organ failure. He died the following day.”
Annemarie and Neil have been planning to wed this 12 months, she had already purchased her marriage ceremony costumeCredit score: Provided
The Solar’s Christmas Collectively marketing campaign
THIS Christmas we’re teaming up with the Collectively Marketing campaign, a coalition of group teams and organisations, and Royal Voluntary Service to fight loneliness.
And we wish to recruit a military of volunteers to help these feeling reduce off, anxious and remoted, this Christmas.
Might YOU attain out to somebody who is likely to be struggling and alone?
It is likely to be somebody in your personal life or group who wants help.
Or we are able to join you with somebody in want by the NHS Volunteer responder programme run by the NHS, Royal Voluntary Service and the GoodSAM app.
Might you hand over half an hour to make a name and chat with somebody feeling remoted? Or might you volunteer to ship important buying or festive treats?
Go to nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk/christmastogether to enroll as a volunteer.
You’ll then obtain an e-mail taking you thru the enroll course of and be requested to obtain the responder app which is able to match you to these in want in your space.
Don’t fear for those who don’t get a job immediately, as a result of jobs are matched in line with the necessity native to you. Being prepared to assist is what actually issues.
The couple, who’ve six grownup youngsters between them from earlier relationships, began relationship in February 2014, after dad-of-four Neil noticed Annemarie in an area pub.
They instantly hit it off after being arrange by a mutual good friend and Neil popped the query in 2017, on the high of Conwy Citadel, north Wales.
Mum-of-two Annemarie fondly recollects: “Neil was proper on the high of the fort and I used to be stood a few steps under, he pulled the ring out and requested me to marry him. It was so pretty.
“I nonetheless put on my rings now, I’ve an eternity ring from him too and I by no means take them off.
“I’d even purchased my marriage ceremony costume, I’ve obtained that hung up upstairs as a result of we have been going to get married this 12 months.
“We hadn’t booked a date however we have been speaking about it simply earlier than he went into hospital.”
Annemarie by no means believed she would truly lose Neil to coronavirus, even on the finishCredit score: Provided
For the previous six years, Annemarie has spent Christmas Day with Neil. She says: “Final 12 months Neil obtained an actual Christmas tree and I used to be so satisfied. I labored 8am-2pm and we spent the remainder of the day collectively.
“Now I want I’d spent the entire day with him final 12 months – because it was most likely the nicest Christmas we’ve had collectively.
“I’m nonetheless going to brighten this 12 months, it would sound foolish however I’m going to attempt to put the tree up on the identical day we did final 12 months, it’s one thing to recollect him by.”
Annemarie added: “A good friend who misplaced her husband a 12 months earlier than Neil died purchased me a stunning coronary heart to go on the tree with Neil’s title and angel wings.
“My daughter purchased me a robin as a result of since Neil handed away, I preserve seeing a robin sat on my fence, which I believe is an indication he’s watching over me.”
Annemarie labored half a day within the care house final Christmas – and says she needs she’d spent the entire day with Neil nowCredit score: Provided
Annemarie is working 2pm-8pm on Christmas Day on the Moorfield Home care house, the place she’s labored for 20 years.
She mentioned: “I’ll be by myself earlier than that, which might be so laborious. My daughter mentioned she’ll come spherical after I end.
“It’s my birthday Boxing Day however I wish to work it as a result of I’m dreading being by myself, I’m doing the complete 12-hour day, which was my selection.
“I simply wish to get it over and achieved with as a result of I’ve obtained very nice recollections from final 12 months, I wish to block Christmas out.”
Annemarie has chosen to work Christmas and her birthday – Boxing Day – as a result of she’s dreading them with out NeilCredit score: Provided
Annemarie lives alone and feels much more remoted due to lockdownCredit score: Provided
Though Annemarie has fashioned a bubble together with her daughter Jade Foreman, 25, who lives down the highway, she solely sees her sometimes and feels horribly remoted.
She mentioned: “My daughter’s been good however I don’t wish to burden her, she has her personal life.
“I really feel lonely on a regular basis. I really feel like part of me’s gone, as a result of I used to be at all times with Neil. Evening time is the worst. I don’t sleep very effectively as a result of I miss him a lot.
“I simply want he was right here nonetheless. I can’t imagine I’m not going to see him once more. The very last thing he mentioned to me was, ‘you won’t be capable to see me however I’ll at all times be with you’.”
I’ll work Christmas, I am dreading being by myself. I simply wish to get it over and achieved with as a result of I’ve obtained very nice recollections from final 12 months, I wish to block Christmas out
Annemarie hates the sound of silence and spends her days sifting by previous pictures. She says: “I take heed to Coronary heart radio all day, so I’ve at all times obtained some noise within the background. I can’t bear the silence, it makes me suppose extra.
“My daughter made me a phenomenal image body which I’ve obtained on the high of my fire with all totally different pictures of me and Neil, saying ‘Neil and Annemarie’s love story’.
“Typically after I sit down to observe TV that body units me off crying, however it’s pretty.
Annemarie hasn’t been capable of undergo Neil’s bag of possessions from the hospital butCredit score: Provided
Loneliness by numbers
1 in 5 individuals who reside alone will spend Christmas on their very own
60% mentioned that they had felt extra lonely through the pandemic
37% individuals know somebody who might be spending Christmas alone
16% Brits mentioned they have been ‘dreading’ Christmas
52% mentioned they’ve helped a susceptible individual through the pandemic
4.2 million adults at all times or usually felt lonely through the second nationwide lockdown
16 to 29-year-olds are twice as possible because the over-70s to be experiencing loneliness within the pandemic
£5.9m marked by Authorities pilot to deal with loneliness
“My son and his spouse purchased a star in Neil’s title, so I’ve obtained a certificates for that on my mantelpiece, with a number of pictures of Neil, an angel and a pink coronary heart in roses, as a result of that’s his favorite color.
“It’s all to remind me of him. Upstairs I’ve obtained a bag of Neil’s belongings which he took into hospital, which I’ve not been in a position to have a look at.
“Selecting that up was so laborious, I’ve obtained a number of recollections of him, I’ve simply not been capable of carry myself to go in that bag but.”
Though Annemarie is saved busy by work, she struggles to fill her free time.
She says: “It’s even more durable in the intervening time as a result of you may’t go wherever.
“In regular instances, Neil and I might exit for meals, to the buying centre or to the photographs – however I don’t wish to do any of that alone, not that I can in the intervening time.
“Neil was the very best man. He was so considerate, he beloved his household and he was so good to my daughter, he purchased her her first automobile when she handed her take a look at. He was simply good.”