Disbelief as couple die within hours of each other

A HEARTBROKEN son has spoken of receiving two phone calls in the space of half an hour to tell him that both his parents had died in separate hospitals on the same day.

• John and Mary Lusted

There was little more than seven hours between the deaths of John Lusted, 69, and his 71-year-old wife, Mary.

The devoted couple, who lived in Granton and would have celebrated their 46th wedding anniversary in October, had each been suffering from poor health.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Son Paul described his parents as "the best mum and dad you could ever want" and while devastated he said it was fitting they were "going out of the world together".

The father-of-two from Granton said: "To lose the two of them in one day was such a shock - it was horrendous.

"We got a phone call at about 8.40am last Wednesday to say my mum had passed away at 12.10 at night in the Victoria. I was trying to compose myself and I had only been off the phone for about half an hour when the phone went again. It was the hospice - they said my dad had passed away at 7.35am."

He added: "It's really hard to describe how I felt. It was just numbness. I don't know if my life will ever be the same - I don't know how I will get through it. It's going to take a long time to make sense of it.

"Even the undertakers said they had never come across this situation unless it was an accident of some kind."

Mary, a retired auxiliary nurse at St Columba's Hospice, suffered a massive stroke in June and lost her speech as a result. She never fully recovered and died from pneumonia - a result of the stroke - at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

John was diagnosed with stomach cancer in January 2007. In May this year, he was told he had between two and three months to live due to several tumours in his lower abdomen which were inoperable. He died at St Columba's, unaware that he was a widower.

Mr Lusted said: "My mum worked in the hospice for 27 years as an auxiliary nurse so a lot of people who worked with my mum were nursing my dad, so quite a lot of emotions went with it. One of the nurses who my mum was close to at the hospice was with my dad that night. My mum passed away at 12.10am and at about 12.05 am, when the nurse was with my dad, he stopped breathing for a split second and gasped, and came back again.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"I believe people get premonitions, maybe he was thinking 'we are going today to be together'. It's kind of fitting that my mum and dad are going out of the world together."

John and Mary married at Granton Parish Church in October 1965 after meeting at the Palais Ballroom in Edinburgh. They went on to have two children, Paul, 44, and Craig, 40, and also had two grandchildren, Jamie, 19, and Fraser, 14. John, a huge Hearts fan, worked as a wire finisher at city-based United Wire for 25 years, while Mary, who died two days before her 72nd birthday, worked at the hospice.

They will be cremated in a joint service at Warriston Crematorium's Lorimer Chapel on Thursday at 11am.

Mr Lusted, a social care worker with the city council, added: "One solace I do take is that they're together and they're not in any pain now. They are going to be together wherever they are going to go. They were fun-loving people and will never be forgotten."