By Leppy Pardalis
Families of more than 100,000 British people killed by covid are happy again after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was sorry for their loss.
Even though most of those deaths would never have occurred had Mr Johnson and his colleagues had the political courage to order a timely lockdown and border closures a year or so ago, the formerly devastated loved ones are now thoroughly cheerful.
Typical is Mrs Colette Morris from Somerset, who lost husband Bob, 48, last April.
She said: “Bob caught covid after seeing the Prime Minister on television, grinning and laughing as he told of visiting a hospital where people with covid were, and of shaking hands with everybody.
“That convinced Bob that the virus was nothing to be taken seriously. Since he died, my daily routine has consisted of waking alone, looking at the empty half of the bed where he slept next to me for 23 years, then getting up and drinking myself into a despairing oblivion.
“But now that Mr Johnson has said he’s sorry for my loss, I feel great.”
Also happy is Mr Ron Compton, 51, from Cumbria.
He said: “My dad, Alf, was 82 when he died in July at the care home where he’d lived since a debilitating stroke. He was still mentally sharp, though.
“The staff did all they could to keep residents safe, but it was inevitable that the virus would enter once the desperate NHS had to clear space in hospitals and put elderly people in any care home with a spare bed.
“What tortured me was the knowledge that my dad, the man who was always there to tell me the nightmares weren’t real and that the bogeyman wouldn’t dare come to our house because he’d get his backside kicked, had to die without me, my mother or my brothers and sisters by his side.
“Was he frightened at the end? Confused? Did he think he’d done something wrong and that we didn’t love him? The guilt I felt was indescribable.
“But then Mr Johnson said he was sorry for my loss, so it’s all cool beans now as far as I’m concerned.”
Another happy bereaved person is Mr Tom Ellis from Kent, whose late son, Mark, 35, was a nurse and refused to desert the patients at the hospital where he worked, even though PPE was in short supply.
Mr Ellis said: “The other week my wife and I were putting some things in the attic when I saw the little woollen hat Mark wouldn’t be separated from when he was a boy. We remembered him wearing it while we taught him how to ride a bike, and his delighted laughter when he finally found his balance.
“Then we held each other and wept until we couldn’t breathe. Our brave little boy. When he caught the virus he held on for weeks and was more worried about how we felt than his own situation.
“But then the Prime Minister said he was sorry for our loss, so now our house is full of laughter again.”