A devasted son whose both parents died within three days of each other after being treated for coronavirus pays tribute.
Mohammed Riaz and his wife Karamat Begum, from Small Heath were both taken to Heartlands Hospital.
Mrs Begum, 72, died on Thursday, April 9 and her husband, 73-year-old died on Easter Sunday, April 12.
The couple had been married for around 50 years, will be buried side-by-side on Saturday, April 18, which is also their son Naseer Khan’s 36th birthday.
Mr Khan, who lived near his parents in Small Heath, said he could not bring himself to tell his father that his mother was also being treated in the same hospital.
And when he took a call from the hospital which began: ‘We are sorry’, he said he had to ask which of his parents had died.
“They were lovely, the best mum and dad you could ask for,” Mr Khan said.
“My dad always showed me the good path of life. He taught me to respect your elders and to do things on my own.
“My mum was always there. If I was ever down, she would always ask me what was wrong, she was a comfort.
“They looked after my older brother, who is registered blind.
“They doted on their three young grandchildren and my dad took them everywhere.”
He said his father, who worked for nearly 30 years as a press operator at Midland Electric Manufacturers in Tyseley, fell ill in late March.
Mr Khan, who works at Asda Small Heath and is also a learning support assistant, said: “He had a fall and I called an ambulance. The paramedics said there was a slight chance he might have Covid-19 and to isolate him at home.”
Mr Riaz remained away from his wife but his condition worsened and he was admitted to Heartlands Hospital.
And Mrs Begum was also sent to Heartlands after she was found to have a high temperature when she attended a routine dialysis appointment at a Sparkhill centre.
Mr Khan said: “I got a call from the doctor saying she wasn’t looking good.
“I went down and she couldn’t talk, she was sleeping.
“I Facetimed my family and showed her the phone and my cousin and brother, who was very close to her.
“She recognised them and was trying to talk but was tired.
“She then went downhill.”
On April 9, Mr Khan took a phone call from his father’s doctor telling him that he was also deteriorating and asking if he could go to his bedside.
He said: “My dad asked me how my mum was. I couldn’t tell him she was also in hospital but that she was waiting at home for him to come home.
“He kept saying he would get better.
“He said: ‘You are my lion and make sure you look after the family until I get back.’
“He said: ‘I will be OK’,
“It totally broke me.
“When I was crying with him, I got a call from my mother’s ward telling me to get to the hospital – but I was already there.
“I went down to her ward and the doctor told me that she could go at any time.”
Mr Khan briefly left the hospital but as he pulled back up to the hospital gates, his phone rang.
Mr Khan said: “They said ‘we are sorry.’ My mind went blank and I said: ‘My mum or my dad?’
Mrs Begum died at 5.30pm.
He then got a call from ‘the same number’ in the early hours of Easter Sunday, telling him his dad had died.
Within days, his “whole life had collapsed.”
He said: “What’s keeping me going is my religion and my family. My cousin brother Hafiz Ullah Khan has been my backbone.
“I have had thousands of messages of support. From people I do not even know saying from people I don’t even know.”
As they prepare for their burial on Saturday, Mr Khan added: “I want to thank the NHS for working hard to save lives.
“I want to say to people, look after your loved ones.
“To the youngsters, spend as much time as you can with your mum and dad. Look after them.
“Stay safe and stay at home.”
A JustGiving page to raise £7,000 to build a well in their memory has been set up by a family friend. To donate: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/naseerk?fbclid=IwAR1LAhS_19Cl7Y57KYazd_Qk4MHztqXxn6NE3-gqu7OazBPtKmA7g4QYqzg