'I lost both mum and dad to Covid' - navigating through grief

Businessman Gavin Perrett lost both of his parents to the pandemic

Businessman Gavin Perrett lost both of his parents to the pandemic and as part of his grieving process penned his first book 'Transforming Grief: from Tragedy Emerges Hope' - Credit: identity Resource Ltd

A life coach has spoken of suffering the traumatic loss of both his parents to Covid-19 within weeks of each other - and wants to help others with their grief.

Gavin Perrett, from Braintree, lost his mother Christine and then his father Brian at the start of the coronavirus crisis in 2020.

He and his brother were half an hour too late to say their goodbyes to their mother, and their father unconscious just before he passed away, leaving Mr Perrett unsure whether he heard his final words.

"It was utterly horrendous, the whole situation," he said.

Gavin Perrett wants to help others through their grief

Gavin Perrett wants to help others through their grief - Credit: identity Resource Ltd

His parents had a double funeral, a graveside service that was done and dusted in 20 minutes and with only 10 allowed to attend.

Mr Perrett, 47, a qualified life and business coach, spoke of his anger at the government over the revelations over lockdown parties, saying it would have reignited a lot of people's grief.

He wrote his first book 'Transforming Grief: from Tragedy Emerges Hope' to help his own healing process and to reach out to people who have shared similar tragic circumstances, letting them know they are not alone.

He also wants to share his story to encourage people to take Covid seriously and to understand the devastation it causes.

Brian and Christine Perrett who passed away from Covid in 2020

Brian and Christine Perrett who passed away from Covid in 2020 - Credit: Gabrielle McMillan Photography

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Speaking about the loss of his parents, from Brentwood, he said: "The most difficult thing for me was I didn't have the opportunity to say goodbye to my parents.

"He was my dad, and even though I would speak with him on FaceTime I still didn't know he wouldn't pull through.

"And when it was clear he was going to die, he was on a ventilator and unconscious. I was told he would probably hear me, but I can't know that for sure.

"I found that really hard. There was so much I wanted to say to my mum and dad before they died: to say how much I loved them, how proud I was of them and to thank them for what they have done for me during my life."

Gavin Perrett said he has learnt how resilient he is

Gavin Perrett said he has learnt how resilient he is - Credit: identity Resource Ltd

Mr Perrett's mother passed away two days after testing positive for Covid, which he believes she caught in hospital after she had gone in for surgery.

His father lasted three weeks before he died, passing away on April 22, 2020 - nearly four weeks after Mr Perrett's mother.

Mr Perrett said: "Having to tell my dad through a window his wife had died and not being able to go in and comfort him was one of the worst experiences of my life."

He described his mother as "vivacious, kind and optimistic" and his father as a devoted family man who was "generous in every way".

"They both shared a passion for country music and were devoted to their two granddaughters," he added.

Mr Perrett said not being able to share a hug with friends and family because of the pandemic was tough, but due to his work he has skills that have helped him through his grief.

Gavin Perrett is a director at identity Resource Ltd

Gavin Perrett is a director at identity Resource Ltd - Credit:  identity Resource Ltd

Mr Perrett, who is trained in neurolinguistic programming and hypnotherapy, began writing everything down, which he found incredibly therapeutic. 

He said: "I knew if I started writing down thoughts rather than getting them stuck in my head, it's healthier getting them on paper.

"I thought 'there's a book here, I will share my story with anyone going through traumatic grief'."

Gavin Perrett's first book: Transforming Grief: from Tragedy Emerges Hope

Gavin Perrett's first book: Transforming Grief: from Tragedy Emerges Hope - Credit: identity Resource Ltd

Mr Perrett is now writing another book, which is about sharing people's experiences of traumatic grief, and he is also launching a 'grief recovery workshop', taking place in Brentwood on January 27.

He said: "I have learned how resilient I am, 100%, and when you go through something so catastrophically traumatic as I have, when you emerge through the other side, you don't sweat the small stuff any more."

Mr Perrett, who is married to Ian Beaird, said he never got to the point where he couldn't function or stayed in bed, adding fresh air, self-care and a connection with nature had helped him, as well as support from other coaches.

A memorial for his parents will finally take place in April, which will be a celebration of their lives.