A GRIEF-STRICKEN daughter whose mum died last month has spoken of the pain of her family not being able to say a proper goodbye to her due to the lockdown restrictions.

Jaqui Tiley, of Tredegar, died on Saturday, April 25, following a two-year battle with cancer. She was 57.

And now her daughter Mesêlle, 22, has spoken of the family's pain at not being able to spend her mum's final days and hours by her side, together.

South Wales Argus:

From left, Aimee, Jaqui, Chris and Mesêlle Tiley during Mr and Mrs Tiley's vow renewal in February this year.

On Friday, April 16, Mrs Tiley - who was diagnosed with cancer in 2018 - was rushed to Abergavenny's Nevill Hall Hospital with breathing difficulties. Although she was twice tested for coronavirus, both tests came back negative.

“It was a relief," said Ms Tiley. "I couldn’t see my mam, only via video chat and calls. I just wanted my mam to be home and safe.

“She wasn’t getting any better and her oxygen was getting worse, so she was on more oxygen. Antibiotics didn’t seem to help, but our family thought she would get through it as she always does.”

On Monday, April 20, the family tried to celebrate daughter Aimee’s 24th birthday with a video call to her mum, who was unable to sing but managed to say "happy birthday".

Three days later, Mrs Tiley asked to see her husband Chris. He was allowed to visit, but had to wear personal protective equipment. Although Mr Tiley was able to have a conversation with his wife, he said he could see she was not well.

South Wales Argus:

Mesêlle (bottom right) on FaceTime with her mum in hospital

Ms Tiley rang the ward later that night and found out her mum was deteriorating further and managed to persuade the staff to let her visit.

“That was the last night I heard my mam’s voice," she said. "She was struggling to breathe but still managed to tell me she loved me.”


The following day, Friday, April 24, Ms Tiley visited at 11am and found her mum had dramatically deteriorated and had to have the difficult conversation with the doctor that she would not make it on her own.

“It was hard, in normal situations you would have your family there for support," she said. "But I was there alone. I was broken.

“The doctors and nurses on the ward were all amazing, so understanding, wishing they could comfort me but unable to due to the virus.

“I brushed her hair, wiped her down with wet wipes, sprayed her favourite perfumes, sang, placed her favourite orang-utan in her arms, along with a photo of my family and read to her.

“I told her how much I loved her, how I knew she had fought beautifully for two years and if she was tired she could sleep.

"I said goodbye to my mam before she had even gone because I was afraid I couldn’t be there when she did.”

This was followed by a FaceTime call with her sister Aimee and dad. The following morning, the hospital broke the news to Mr Tiley through a phone call that his wife had died.

“I had to beg the nurses and doctors to be able to see her for just a few minutes,” said Ms Tiley, who was then faced with the complicated planning of the funeral during a pandemic.

South Wales Argus:

A memorial plaque for Mrs Tiley

She said: “We were only allowed nine people. My mum was one of nine and my dad one of 10. There was no comfort at the crematorium as seats were done to coincide with the two-metre restrictions.

“I had to drive myself and my family as there was no family car and no order of service. We couldn’t even have a eulogy.”

One comforting thought throughout this time was the community spirit of the people of Tredegar.

Ms Tiley said: “The love and support we received that day is unheard of. Our street was lined with people clapping and throwing flowers on the hearse as it drove by. A neighbour even played the drums.

“It showed us how much our mum was loved and respected by the community.”

The family are asking people to donate to Hospice of the Valleys, whose staff looked after Mrs Tiley during her cancer battle. You can donate here: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/donation-web/charity?charityId=1005053&stop_mobi=yes&fbclid=IwAR0Gjxd3pKuRrFrmKKF9c2POxEw_m82eQA_9kZzHcb8oTei8Ljl6JDilppI