Unable to mourn Dad with family

Holly ThompsonSound Telegraph
Laura Green with her father on her wedding day.
Camera IconLaura Green with her father on her wedding day. Credit: Supplied

COVID-19 travel restrictions have affected all of us but for one Rockingham woman and her family, the impact has been devastating.

Without the restrictions, Laura Green and her family would have travelled to England to be with extended family after her father, John Featherstone, died following a battle with prostate cancer at the age of 81.

The inability to do so has been heartbreaking but Mrs Green is determined to commemorate her father from across the globe.

John Featherstone with his grandson Gus.
Camera IconJohn Featherstone with his grandson Gus. Credit: Supplied

“The last few weeks have been extremely difficult. Being the baby of the family, I am extremely close to my mum and dad and they would live with us for a few months each year when they came to Australia to visit, so ordinarily I always miss them every day they’re back in the UK,” she said.

“At this time all I have wanted to do is be with my mum, help her and be a part of giving my dad a send-off.”

She described the situation in the United Kingdom as “pretty diabolical and very sad” and said her father’s funeral could be attended by only five immediate family members who would need to keep 2m apart.

“This will run for a maximum of 20 minutes and due to the need for funerals at the moment, the earliest we could get this booked in for was April 30, nearly a month after dad passed on April 1,” Mrs Green said.

“My dad was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in July 2019. On April 1, dad could not get out of bed so my mum called an ambulance.

“We were told if Dad went to hospital he would have to go by himself. Not even my my mum would be able to go along. They also advised there were no beds and Dad would be in a corridor by himself. It is devastatingly sad.

“Therefore Dad remained at home and passed away within eight hours. The ambulance staff were amazing and stayed for hours until the district nurse arrived.”

Mrs Green said she would be going to the Rockingham foreshore to remember her father, as it was one of his favourite places.

“I am also working on somehow trying to watch the funeral. In many cases the services are now live-streamed. However, unfortunately, this particular crematorium is not doing this. I have spoken to the priest, Father Michael Branch, on multiple occasions and he has truly been a little miracle in all of this. He has offered to set up a WhatsApp video call so I can be part of it.”

Mrs Green has also set up an online donations and memorial page through Cancer Research UK in memory of her father.

“I would definitely like to visit my family when I can and am hoping to bring Mum back here with me. I will not necessarily be rushing over as soon as the travel ban is ended as I feel the UK and Europe are in such a bad place,” she said. “I’ve been in WA permanently now for about 16 years and through this pandemic, knowing firsthand how the UK and Europe are coping, there truly is no place I would rather be.

“My dad absolutely loved Rockingham and I know he would be so happy that we are safe here.”

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