A year like no other

How Sue Bellerby spent almost two months caring for her elderly father in a Spanish hospital.

Sue Bellerby and her husband Ian, stood in the door way of their home.
Sue and Ian Bellerby had to fly out to Spain last year after her dad was hospitalised.

It was July 2020 and my elderly parents, who were both in their late 80’s, had been in Spain for the whole of the first lockdown. They had tried to book flights back to the UK but these had been cancelled repeatedly.

We kept in constant contact with them both and spoke over the phone every day, but it soon became clear that my dads health was deteriorating. My husband flew out first as he was self-employed and could take the time off. It was about a week later and I decided to fly out too just in case something happened.

When my dad was hospitalised, we each had to take turns in visiting him. It was already such an uncertain time and the thought of losing him just made everything else harder. I remember it being very touch and go for a while.

After nearly three weeks in hospital the insurance company informed us that there was a private plane available to fly them both back. It felt like the end was finally in sight.

The whole experience was so difficult for me. I have never needed to care for my parents before, let alone in a foreign country thousands of miles from home. It is only now I realise how precious life really is.