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She’s Gone – but we shouldn't forget

Radha Nair-Roberts writes about the death of one of EFA's founders last week.

It’s with a heavy heart and great sadness that I took a devastating phone call yesterday. After months of repeated hospital inpatient treatments for a number of ailments ranging from recurrent pneumonia infections to never-healing bedsore, I learned the very sad news that my friend of nearly 5 years, Sharon Williams lost her battle to survive on Monday. Sharon slipped away peacefully in the nursing home to where she was discharged after her final inpatient treatment at UHW. We were all distraught that she wasn’t returned home to her own flat which was specifically adapted for her needs as a wheelchair user but obviously the decision was made that her medical condition required 24/7 supervised medical care. We don’t yet know if Covid19 was a factor in her final demise but it’s probable that this was the case.

Though I was unable to visit in person, having been told to self-isolate at home, around the same time Sharon was admitted to hospital, several members of our EfA family (Faye and Alison) did get to Sharon’s bedside, to deliver cheer, flowers, magazines and other gifts. For this, I will always be grateful. Though her lucidity fluctuated at times it was very clear that she gained solace from the sight of these familiar faces, and the sound of familiar voices. Thank you so much ladies. By the time she was discharged to the nursing home, Covid19 had become a major problem in the community and nursing homes were shut to all visitors. Phoning and texting were our only options but we never got any answers. We found out after her passing that her kind carer, Flavia who was allowed in for Sharon’s final days did tell her about our texts and read them out loud to her. I really hope she heard our words, and gained some solace from them before the end.

I do not want to remember the sad days and suffering Sharon endured. I want to celebrate her life and remember the good times we had together. EfA Christmas dinners, and Sharon’s 60th birthday at Wahaca’s, many delicious take-away dinners at her flat, watching a Matthew Bourne dance show at the WMC, attending a Leonard Cheshire celebration at Swansea’s Liberty Stadium. Sharon had a strong, incisive wit and heartfelt opinions that she was never afraid to share. She loved watching ballet and musical theatre. Catching a Brian Cox show live was the highlight of her calendar. She tried her utmost to convince me to take the whole family to see War Horse (but that wasn’t really our thing). Lilies were her favourite flowers and she slowly managed to tame the neighbourhood cat Bertie till he became a regular visitor to her flat and jumped up into her lap for a cuddle every day. She will surely go down in officialdom as another unmourned statistic now, another death during the pandemic in a care home. For me though, Sharon was a breathing, living, thinking human being with likes, dislikes, hopes and dreams like any of us. She deserves to be mourned and remembered like that.

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