For my family and I it was the first time ever we had been unable to visit “Nain Wrecsam”. Sadly, we won’t be able to visit her this year, or ever again.

In the months leading up to Christmas 2020 Covid was still tearing its way through the population of Wales and the first vaccination wasn’t administered until the first week in December that year.

My mother, who would have been celebrating her 88th birthday last week, had been in and out of the Maelor hospital in Wrecsam with a range of issues that impacted upon her heart. By some miracle she had remained free from Covid. Her condition deteriorated after Christmas and the hospital planned for her to be at home during her final days.


Living 160 miles away from my hometown in Pontycymer, a small village north of Bridgend, visiting was out of the question.

On Wednesday February 17, we spoke with her as a family on FaceTime, and that was the last time her grandchildren Megan (12) and Betsi (8) saw their Nain. On Saturday February 20, the news arrived that she had passed away quietly during the night, with my brother and niece by her side.

Do I wish I had ignored the rules and travelled to see her after that FaceTime call, knowing that she had days left to live? It is something that will haunt me until the day my turn comes to depart.

I had received my first Covid vaccination on the 12th of February, so I had some protection, but I didn’t receive my second jab until April which, of course, gave me greater protection.

Like many others did, and continue to do so, I followed the rules, not just for my own benefit, but for the benefit of others as well. Whilst Covid wouldn’t be completely defeated by following the rules, a combined effort by the many would minimise its impact. Despite our best efforts almost 6,500 have lost their lives in Wales to Covid.

My mother’s funeral wasn’t held until mid-March, which meant another decision had to be made. Again, we abided by the rules, and being on the medically vulnerable list myself, we decided to stay away. The funeral was due to be streamed from the crematorium.

On the morning of the funeral, I checked with the funeral directors who informed us that due to the lack of connectivity at the crematorium in Pentrebychan, they would record the funeral and send me a link later in the day.

So, at 6 o’clock that evening we sat down as a family to watch a replay of my mother’s funeral on television.

To think that during the second wave of a global pandemic that had cost countless lives and during which, families like my own made sacrifice after sacrifice to ensure our own safety, that people at the heart of government thought it was appropriate to party beggars belief.

As it stands, no one has resigned bar Allegra Stratton, the Prime Minister’s now former adviser, who only departed after footage emerged from a press conference rehearsal of her making light of an alleged party… an alleged party where it now appears his press chief, Jack Doyle, made a speech and gave out awards.

I’ll still follow the guidance of the First Minister, Mark Drakeford, and the Welsh Government.

As for his English counterpart, I gave up listening to his advice some time ago.