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Monday 16 September 2019

Devoted: Couple who were married for 32 years die minutes apart


Together to the end: Tom and Mary Forbes died in the same hospital within less than an hour
Together to the end: Tom and Mary Forbes died in the same hospital within less than an hour
Mary and Tom on their wedding day

Mícheál Ó Scannáil

A loving couple who were married for 32 years died just minutes apart in hospital, their son has revealed.

Mary and Tom Forbes, who both had cancer, died at Bantry General Hospital, Co Cork, on Saturday.

After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, Mary Forbes (59), from Drimoleague, Co Cork, was given the all-clear in late 2017.

Her husband, Tom (75), had a "mini-stroke" in December 2018 and after going to hospital, was subsequently diagnosed as having cancer himself.

Then Mary went to see her doctor with a pain in her head and tests revealed her cancer had returned.

Her condition deteriorated and she went into a coma in Cork University Hospital.

Tom also then took a turn for the worse.

But not long before their deaths, their son Paul said, Mary regained consciousness for long enough to be moved to Bantry, where she and husband could say their final goodbyes. "They got to say their goodbyes," Paul told the Irish Independent.

"He got to say goodbye though.

"He went into her every day until about three days before he died.

"Then he took another turn and started to get worse and then the last two days he went into a coma himself."

Paul, who has a brother, Niall, said of his mother: "We honestly thought a week before she died, that she only had about 24 hours but she just never really changed.

"She just had the same heartbeat and everything until Saturday night when my brother was staying over, because one of us stayed there every night in Bantry for the three weeks.

"We thought he would go and then next thing, she was first and he went 44 minutes, I think, after. She was waiting for him."

Mary's and Tom's deaths have been widely mourned and they have been described as active and extremely popular members of the west Cork community.

Their sons said that they were loving parents, and enjoyed being part of their community. Paul added that, while the family are devastated and shocked about the loss of the couple, they take comfort in the fact that they never had to be apart, and that they were together at the time of their deaths.

"They were mad for trotting races, harness racing, loved darts and rings. They had two granddaughters as well, so they loved them. They were affectionate. They loved us," he said.

The couple were laid to rest together following a joint funeral service in Drimoleague on Monday.

Irish Independent

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