Couple in their 60s die from Covid in separate hospitals within an HOUR of each other
- Graeme and Margaret Carling passed away in Dundee and Aberdeen in January
- Couple were in different hospitals after Mrs Carling transferred two days earlier
- Graeme Jr got a call to tell him father had died after saying goodbye to mother
A couple in their 60s died from Covid in separate hospitals within an hour of each other in an ‘out of the blue’ tragedy.
Graeme and Margaret Carling, from Scotland, passed away at hospitals in Dundee and Aberdeen in January after testing positive for the virus.
Mrs Carling, 65, was diagnosed with Covid after Christmas and fought the disease for two weeks before she died at Royal Victoria Hospital on January 19.
Her husband, 66, was admitted to Ninewells Hospital after complaining of a sore head. He died on the same day after testing positive for the virus.
The grandparents were laid to rest in a double funeral in February.
Their son, Graeme Jr, received a call to tell him his father had passed away while he was travelling home from saying a final farewell to his mother in Aberdeen.
‘There was just an hour between the deaths – you couldn’t write the script on that,’ he said. ‘It’s obviously been tough. They were young.
‘They didn’t need to go yet, they didn’t have to die. But they did.’
Graeme and Margaret Carling, from Scotland, passed away at hospitals in Dundee and Aberdeen in January after testing positive for the virus
Mrs Carling’s phone received a message inviting her to book a Covid vaccination a day later.
Describing the day of his parents’ deaths, Mr Carling said: ‘I took a phone call from my sister at about 6pm saying our mum was away to pass.
‘I rushed there and minutes later she passed away. It was awful and sad. A month earlier my mum was fine.
‘I was walking up the corridor at [Royal Victoria Hospital’s] Roxburghe House and my phone went – Ninewells Hospital.
‘The nurse called and asked if now was a good time. I told her my mum had just died but still wanted to hear about my dad.
‘She said he was doing OK. The oxygen was working but she would have liked more improvement.
‘We hadn’t really been worried about my dad. Our attention had been on mum.’
Mrs Carling, 65, was diagnosed with Covid after Christmas and fought the disease for two weeks before she died at Royal Victoria Hospital on January 19
Mr Carling asked his wife Leanne to drive to Broughty Ferry to allow him some time to collect his thoughts before returning home to his two children.
On the way he phoned his father’s eldest brother Bob to tell him about his mother’s death. It was then that the nurse from Ninewells Hospital called again.
‘She was in pieces – I’d only just told her about my mum,’ Mr Carling said. ‘She said “I’m really sorry but when I went back to the ward your dad had passed away”.
‘I went completely white. I just thought this can’t be happening. Then I phoned my uncle back to tell him his brother had died now.
‘It was complete and utter shock and I was in shock for a couple of months. It was my worst nightmare and so out of the blue.’
Mrs Carling was transferred away from her husband at Ninewells Hospital two days before her death. She was admitted to a specialist palliative care unit in Aberdeen.
Her children Graeme and Michelle believe their mother caught Covid during her first stay at Ninewells, and then passed it on to her husband.
Their son, Graeme Jr (above), received a call to tell him his father had passed away while he was travelling home from saying a final farewell to his mother in Aberdeen
Mrs Carling was transferred away from her husband at Ninewells Hospital two days before her death. She was admitted to a specialist palliative care unit in Aberdeen. Pictured: Roxburghe House
The mother, who suffered with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a lung condition that causes breathing difficulties, was initially admitted on December 22.
Mrs Carling tested negative for Covid-19 and was discharged on Christmas Eve.
But the grandmother-of-seven was readmitted on December 29 and tested positive.
‘When I saw her at Roxburghe House she had moments of being lucid,’ Mr Carling said. ‘She was all wired up but she’d see me in the chair and you could see the joy in her face.
‘It was heartbreaking. She couldn’t speak but was so happy to see me. That was horrible.
‘After he was admitted to Ninewells on January 9, my dad didn’t ask about mum. I don’t know where he was mentally.
‘We weren’t allowed to see him. We’d text him but when we opened his phone after the event he hadn’t read any of the messages.
‘He didn’t know my mum had passed away – it was only the nurse I’d told and he was dead by the time she went back to his ward.’
Her children Graeme and Michelle believe their mother caught Covid during her first stay at Ninewells Hospital (above), and then passed it on to her husband
Mr Carling said his son Mitchell, 13, and daughter Blaire, 10, have been hit hard by suddenly losing both of their grandparents.
At a double funeral in February, Mitchell played the bagpipes and read a eulogy.
‘Mitchell was so close to my dad – he used to take him to Dens Park where he had a season ticket,’ he said. ‘We’re a really tight knit family.’
The couple met at a disco at Kirkton Community Centre and were married in 1973.
Mr Carling worked at Dundee Plant Company Limited as a manager.
After a spell as a transport manager in Dundee and Kent for Portway International, he became chief executive of North East Ice and Cold Storage, based in Peterhead.
His wife, who also hailed from Dundee, was a homemaker.
The couple had three children – Graeme, Michelle and Wayne, who died in 2006 at the age of 30 from oesophageal cancer.
The Carling family raised more than £200,000 for cancer causes.
Paying tribute to his parents, Mr Carling said: ‘It’s obviously been tough.
‘There have been days you want to hide under the covers and not get up, but we can’t do that. We’ve really got a good team of people. I don’t want sympathy.
‘My dad has always been there for me. The guy I looked up to. A Kirkton boy made good. In recent years he was an important part of our team.
‘He had a great way with people especially when we’ve been looking to make acquisitions.
‘I can hear my dad saying to crack on and keep moving forward. Both my parents will be greatly missed.’
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