‘I couldn’t kiss him goodbye’: Mum’s emotional farewell
Elena Turner wasn't able to give her son a kiss on the forehead when she said goodbye to him for the final time on Monday.
She was able to rub his cheek, but only through a glove. Wearing full PPE restricted her from embracing her son one last time.
The grieving grandmother, 72, on Monday drove three hours from her COVID-free town in northern NSW to Queensland, where she arrived at a funeral home in Mount Gravatt carrying a beautiful bunch of flowers for her son, Wayne Turner, 49, who tragically died last week in hospital after a series of strokes he had suffered in the past nine years took their toll.
Ms Turner knows grief all too well. Before Wayne's death she had already lost two of her children but her mourning of Wayne is amplified by not being able to bury her son at his funeral on Tuesday, or be able to hold his children and grieve as a family.
Instead, she was offered an exemption to view his body and had just five minutes to say what she needed to say, while struggling with the heat in full PPE.
"It's just not the same as what it would have been if we went to his funeral, but it is a bit of closure, not as much as I would have liked, but I am grateful for the little bit that I got," she told The Courier-Mail.
She said the experience of seeing her son's body was emotional, but she was happy that he is no longer suffering.
"I couldn't give him a kiss on the forehead like I did with my other boys when they passed away, it's just not the same," she said.
"I could rub his cheek, but it was through a glove."
Ms Turner was joined by her partner, Wayne's stepfather, Robert Lidster. Once they left the funeral home they both appeared visibly emotional, but wearing a brave face. They then got in their car to make the journey home, not allowed to stop anywhere in Queensland.
Ms Turner has been vocal about her anguish of being barred from his funeral, which will be held Tuesday in Logan, and believes she was "offered a crumb" to instead view his body.
Her story came as Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young have come underfire for tough border restrictions and inconsistency with exemptions.
"I still think she needs to be more lenient with people. She's got to allow people to grieve in the normal way, not her way, and all gowned up and hot as anything under it, fogging up," she said.
"My grandkids never got to see their father before he died because of the hospital doors being shut."
Ms Turner said she will be watching her son's funeral via livestream video, and hopes she will be able to make the journey to Queensland at the end of the year to bury his ashes.
Originally published as 'I couldn't kiss him goodbye': Mum's emotional farewell